(First posted as a postscript to The Day We Will Never Forget.)
People are always asking, did I know about Tyler Durden’s birthmark. Yeah nah. Actually yeah, nah nah. Nobody ever asked, and I only just read the book a couple months ago. This year was the 20th anniversary of the film’s release, but the book was published ’96/97. While camped up for a few months in the bush, at my ‘Flame Zone Dream Build’ site, I took the opportunity to buy the book on Amazon for Kindle. Wow. Smokin’ hot.
“You have a birthmark, Mr. Durden,” the bartender says. “On your foot. It’s shaped like a dark red Australia with New Zealand next to it.”
“Everybody knows about the birthmark,” the bartender says. “It’s part of the legend. You’re turning into a fucking legend, man.”
Huge praise to Chuck Palahniuk, and also to Jim Uhls who wrote the screenplay. Both phenomenal. And not just because of what I did to it in 2001. Visionary shit all ’round. Check this bit from the book, in light of what blazed in 2019…
What Tyler says about being the crap and the slaves of history, that’s how I felt. I wanted to destroy everything beautiful I’d never have. Burn the Amazon rain forests. Pump chlorofluorocarbons straight up to gobble the ozone. Open the dump valves on supertankers and uncap offshore oil wells. I wanted to kill all the fish I couldn’t afford to eat, and smother the French beaches I’d never see.
I wanted the whole world to hit bottom.
Pounding that kid, I really wanted to put a bullet between the eyes of every endangered panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species and every whale or dolphin that gave up and ran itself aground.
Don’t think of this as extinction. Think of this as downsizing.
For thousands of years, human beings had screwed up and trashed and crapped on this planet, and now history expected me to clean up after everyone. I have to wash out and flatten my soup cans. And account for every drop of used motor oil.
And I have to foot the bill for nuclear waste and buried gasoline tanks and landfilled toxic sludge dumped a generation before I was born.
I held the face of mister angel like a baby or a football in the crook of my arm and bashed him with my knuckles, bashed him until his teeth broke through his lips. Bashed him with my elbow after that until he fell through my arms into a heap at my feet. Until the skin was pounded thin across his cheekbones and turned black.
I wanted to breathe smoke.
So great. Especially as breathing smoke became a near constant occurrence due to all the distant, and not so distant, bushfires.
If you have neither seen the movie nor read the book, then you must watch the movie first. That way will considerably soften the spoilers. And now you’ve read my story, you’re really in for a treat. Really. I’ll paste the end of the first chapter. It’s available online as a preview. It won’t affect seeing the movie.
Maybe we would become a legend, maybe not. No, I say, but wait.
Where would Jesus be if no one had written the gospels?
I tongue the gun barrel into my cheek and say, you want to be a legend, Tyler, man, I’ll make you a legend. I’ve been here from the beginning.
I remember everything.
(Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. First published in Australia in 1997. Penguin Random House Australia. Kindle Edition.)