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'Fight Club,' a hopeful biography

By Brian John Mitchell
June 29, 2005

I have a hard time talking about “Fight Club.” It’s not because I’m not supposed to talk about it, but because of what it reveals about me when I do talk about it. “Fight Club” could be about me. A general lack of direction combined with a need to fill up every moment of my life because of being raised to be a workaholic (and alcoholic, for that matter) causes a constant and overwhelming sense of dread. I have trouble sleeping because I feel like I am wasting my life. I keep thinking my dad’s advice for what to do with my life would somehow solve things, but our relationship doesn’t really involve us talking to each other. The failure of the relationship with my dad is probably what led to my need of create a new family support system. A desperate need not to feel alone.

The community of support groups such as NA and AA was a great solution. They made me feel like a part of something. I got to play the part of somebody’s son and someone else’s father. Every night of the week was like a different family reunion. Sunday and Monday for the ones who lost control every weekend. Tuesday and Thursday for the dads with DWIs. Wednesday for those trying to quit narcotics. Friday for those trying to score narcotics. Saturday for those with nothing better to do. When you start going to meetings every day, it gets to the point where you stop being a part of the group. You start to realize you’ve become a spectator. The most important meeting starts to be Friday night so you can pick up a score. The problem is the drugs just stop cutting it and the groups stop cutting it and you end up back at nothing. Back to depression and insomnia.

This is when I first saw “Fight Club.” I didn’t really know anything going into the theater except some people had said I would like it. I slammed a couple of drinks and went to the theater. The first third of the movie I was all too familiar with; going to support groups and being clever was all my life was about for a couple years. I also know that I unfortunately define myself by what I own, and if I lost all my stuff I might kill myself. It would be easier to kill myself than to start over at zero. This is where “Fight Club” starts to offer me hope. Jack doesn’t kill himself; he seizes the opportunity to reinvent himself, to create a new freedom. After tasting his freedom, Jack decides to spread it to the whole world.

At work a few weeks later, a fight club started. I don’t really remember exactly how. I think it started when I pushed a co-worker to the ground for pissing me off about something. It ended up with him getting three days off for an on-the-job-injury caused by my elbow in his back. This became the way we spent our downtime. The club ended a few weeks later when someone got to into a fight and pulled some bare wires from a support pillar in the warehouse and put them on his opponent’s head in an electrocution attempt. It made everything seem too serious and extreme. Instead of taking things up a notch, I let things slip through my fingers. I let myself sink back down into my safe, structured life instead of starting a revolution for all the people who were letting themselves be casually oppressed by consumerism.

I wasn’t ready to hit the bottom. I’m still not ready to hit the bottom and I need to be ready to hit the bottom to take things to the next level. I need to let everything go to transform myself and figure out who I am and hopefully win the girl. This is why I want “Fight Club” to be my biography. I want to be a hero and I want to get the girl.

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