Thursday, May 25, 2006

85% Of A True Story

Just finished Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live: 85% Of A True Story... which reminds me a bit of Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation and Donald Miller's Through Painted Deserts.

Let's play a matching game! Which one of these books contains:

a. the author's neurotic worries about being compared to Dave Eggers & Nick Hornsby

b. the author's musings about simply "moving for motion's sake"

c. the author teaching their nephew to be morbid

I find I like these kind of books - offbeat travelouges that morph into a cross between personal introspection & social commentary. Klosterman (a) is a writer for Spin magazine, so his book is laced with expletives, drug use, and obscure rock references, including an entire chapter on how the band KISS is the perfect template for his romantic life. Vowell (c) is a commentator for NPR and uses trips to track down the history of the first three presidential assassinations as a jumping off point for political & social commentary, leavened by her razor sharp wit. Miller (b) is a follower of Christ who uses his road trip from Texas to Oregon to ponder the meaning of his life and the presence of God.

Now, would I recommend Killing Yourself To Live? Well, not if you're easily offended - it's a pretty relentless drumbeat of R-rated behavior with very few echoes of Jesus. For me it's mainly a picture of how empty life can get, held together with pop culture references, fine writing & wry humor.

OTOH, everybody needs to read the following quote... Chuck absolutely NAILS it. I'm gonna use this quote the next time I preach on marital faithfulness.

Don't ever cheat on someone. I'm serious. It's not worth it... The reason you should never cheat on someone is because you won't enjoy it. No matter which person you're with, you'll always be thinking of the other one. You will never in the romantic present tense; your mind will solely exist in the past and the future. Let's say you sleep with your mistress on Friday & your wife on Saturday: To an epicurean, this is the dream lifestyle. This is sexual utopia. But it never works that way. When you're having sex with your mistress on Friday, you will find yourself thinking about your wife. You will be thinking about how this act would destroy her, and how humiliated she would feel if she knew the truth. But then on Saturday, when you're back in the arms of your trusting wife, your mind will immediately drift toward decadence. At the height of your physical passion, you will think back to how exciting things were 24 hours ago, when you were with a new, strange body. Except that it wasn't exciting to be with someone else; it's only exciting in your memory (at the time, it just made you wracked with guilt). So now you're having sex with someone who loves you, but your mind isn't even in the same room. And suddently it's Sunday; you have now had sex with two people on two consecutive nights, and you didn't appreciate either episode.

Of course, this is the same guy who relates the story of the first time he did cocaine with two-half naked strippers, so don't go basing your theology on the book.

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