Tyler Durden and the Voices in My Head

This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.

A few weeks ago I did a post about As Good As It Gets— how so many lines from that movie are the voices in my head. Well, that’s not the only movie that provides color commentary to the events in my life. Another one is Fight Club

Keep in mind that this movie came out when I was 19, when it was easier to be glib about nihilism. This is not to say that Fight Club lacks intellectual depth– it’s just that I hadn’t been through enough to make up my own mind about it.

I felt like destroying something beautiful.

The #1 line from that movie that pops up in my head every time I edge sidways to my middle/window seat on an airplane:

Now, a question of etiquette – as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?

The next paragraph is one I think about a lot, though post-9/11 it holds less truth. Or maybe it holds more truth, since even 9/11 has been reduced to a punch line, a bumper sticker and a rhetorical tactic.

We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

And this:

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

And I’m still waiting for someone to really listen:

Narrator: When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of just…
Marla Singer: – instead of just waiting for their turn to speak?

And when I say something just to be clever. Or I hear someone else try:

Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I’ve ever met… see I have this thing: everything on a plane is single-serving…
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it’s very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How’s that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then… Right up.

And finally:

Tyler Durden: Shut up! Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God? […] You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen!

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