Two weeks before the trip to Fargo, I stopped by a favorite local bookstore to grab some preemptive in-flight literary material. As Katsumi would say, I was in one of my “moods” so the compact hardcover copy of “Killing Yourself to Live” virtually leapt off the remainders table and into my hands. I didn’t even bother to read the back-cover synopsis and I’m probably the only person in America who hasn’t read “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs”, so I really had no idea what I was in for.
First: the book is seriously off-the-rails hilarious. At insomniac-o’clock the day after I bought it, I was curled up on my friend’s bathroom floor in Jersey City, laughing my ass off after reading the first chapter. Three weeks and many pages later, I was curled in the doorjamb of the Pussermobile, once again doubled over in hysterics. Literally, I was wiping tears from my eyes and my cheeks hurt – it’s THAT funny.
Second, and much more strangely: Almost immediately after starting it, I realized that fate brought us together. I’ve been privy to a lot of weird coincidence lately, most of which is material for my journal rather than web-wide consumption, but some strange shit has been going down. So what are the chances that the book I picked to read on my lonely nights in Fargo would actually be set, at least for some portion of the narrative, IN FARGO. I mean, it’s not like I’m saying “oh, hey, I’m in Manhattan and this BOOK is about Manhattan, what do you know”. Tons of people write about Manhattan. Who writes about Fargo? As a matter of course, parts of the book are also set in Moorhead – no shock really, because Fargo and Moorhead are pretty much the same place, but it struck me as odd that we’d been trucking back and forth across the same bridge Klosterman describes in detail when reminiscing about his old stomping ground.
I’d been on a Kid A kick after seeing Radiohead at APW and, since I was staying just across the river from ground zero, I’d also thinking a bit about 9/11. Then all of a sudden I’m reading a chapter-long treatise on how Kid A, front to back, parallels America’s reaction to the WTC attacks. Later on, a passage about Led Zeppelin took all my feeling about “When The Levee Breaks” (I have very strong feeling about “When The Levee Breaks”) out of my head and onto the page.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any stranger, I got hammered and made my solo mission to the wine bar. We’d just gotten back from a trip up North to the reservation, which abuts the small resort town of Devil’s Lake, and so wouldn’t it just figure that, on page 224, it’s mentioned as an aside that the author was playing basketball in Devil’s Lake the day Kurt Cobain killed himself. WHO GOES TO DEVIL’S LAKE?? NOBODY, that’s who. Nobody except for me, the crew, Chuck Klosterman. If I hadn’t been so wasted I might just have fallen off my chair.
Long story short: the book is fantastic. You should read it. But it will never be as fantastic to you as it was to me… and if it is, I want to meet you and shake your hand because you’re probably my long-lost twin.