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You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.

Buy the
sofa,
then for a couple years you're satisfed that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've
got
your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes.
The
rug
Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.
"A lot of young people try to impress the world and buy too many things,"
" lot of young people don't !now what they really want."
"Young people, they think they want the whole world."
"If you don't know what you want," the doorman said, "you end up with a lot you don't."
"ight club gets to be your reason for going to the gym and !eeping your hair cut short
and
cutting your nails. The gyms you go to are crowded with guys trying to loo! li!e men, as
if
being a man means loo!ing the way a sculptor or an art director says.#
You aren't alive anywhere li!e you're alive at fght club. $hen it's you and one other guy
under that one light in the middle of all those watching. "ight club isn't about winning or
losing fghts. "ight club isn't about words. You see a guy come to fght club for the frst
time,
and his ass is a loaf of white bread. You see this same guy here si% months later, and he
loo!s
carved out of wood. This guy trusts himself to handle anything. There's grunting and
noise at
fght club li!e at the gym, but fght club isn't about loo!ing good. There's hysterical
shouting
in tongues li!e at church, and when you wa!e up &unday afternoon you feel saved
#t the time, my life 'ust seemed too complete, and maybe we have to brea! everything
to
ma!e something better out of ourselves.#
Tyler rubbing the side of his nec! and me holding a hand on my
chest, both of us !nowing we'd gotten somewhere we'd never been and li!e the cat and
mouse in cartoons, we were still alive and wanted to see how far we could ta!e this thing
and
still be alive.
"ti!king feathers up your butt," Tyler says, "does not make you a !hi!ken."
Tyler says I'm nowhere near hitting the bottom, yet. nd if I don't fall all the way, I can't
be
saved. (esus did it with his crucif%ion thing. I shouldn't 'ust abandon money and
property and
!nowledge. This isn't 'ust a wee!end retreat. I should run from self)improvement, and I
should
be running toward disaster. I can't 'ust play it safe anymore.
"If you lose your nerve before you hit the bottom," Tyler says, "you'll never really
succeed."
*nly after disaster can we be resurrected
"It's only after you've lost everything," Tyler says, "that you're free to do anything."
"You can cry," Tyler says. "You can go to the sin! and run water over your hand, but frst
you
have to !now that you're stupid and you will die. +oo! at me.
"&omeday," Tyler says, "you will die, and until you !now that, you're useless to me."
"This is the greatest moment of your life," Tyler says, "and you're off somewhere missing it."
"You have to see," Tyler says, "how the frst soap was made of heroes."
Thin! about the animals used in product testing.
Thin! about the mon!eys shot into space.
"$ithout their death, their pain, without their sacrifce," Tyler says, "we would have
nothing."
Tyler loo!s right at +eslie and says, without even pic!ing up the note, " ,I have passed an
amount of urine into at least one of your many elegant fragrances."'
lbert smiles. "You pissed in her perfume-"
.o, Tyler says. /e 'ust left the note stuc! between the bottles. &he's got about a hundred
bottles sitting on a mirror counter in her bathroom.
+eslie smiles. "&o you didn't, really-"
".o," Tyler says, "but she doesn't !now that."
Tyler says, "&o, tell the ban0uet manager. 1et me fred. I'm not married to this
chic!enshit
'ob.
"1etting fred," Tyler says, "is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way,
we'd
0uit treading water and do something with our lives."
"eople listened instead of #ust waiting for their turn to speak.
$othing is stati!. %verything is falling apart
"&isaster is a natural part of my evolution," Tyler whispered, "toward tragedy and dissolution."
"I'm brea!ing my attachment to physical power and possessions,' Tyler whispered,
"because
only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit."
"The liberator who destroys my property," Tyler said, "is fghting to save my spirit. The
teacher
who clears all possessions from my path will set me free."
I tell the detective, no, I did not leave the gas on and then leave town. I loved my life. I
loved
that condo. I loved every stic! of furniture
That was my whole life. 2verything, the lamps, the chairs, the rugs were me. The dishes
in the
cabinets were me. The plants were me. The television was me. It was me that blew up.
3ouldn't
he see that-
"1o ahead, you can't !ill me," Tyler was laughing. "You stupid fuc!. Beat the crap out of
me,
but you can't !ill me."
You have too much to lose.
I have nothing.
You have everything.
"I am trash," Tyler said. "I am trash and shit and cra4y to you and this whole fuc!ing
world,"
Tyler said to the union president. "You don't care where I live or how I feel, or what I eat
or
how I feed my !ids or how I pay the doctor if I get sic!, and yes I am stupid and bored
and
wea!, but I am still your responsibility."
By this time ne%t wee!, each guy on the ssault 3ommittee has to pic! a fght where he
won't
come out a hero. nd not in fght club. This is harder than it sounds. man on the street
will
do anything not to fght.
The idea is to ta!e some (oe on the street who's never been in a fght and recruit him.
+et him
e%perience winning for the frst time in his life. 1et him to e%plode. 1ive him permission
to
beat the crap out of you. You !an take it. If you win, you s!rewed up
"$hat we have to do, people," Tyler told the committee, "is remind these guys what !ind
of
power they still have."
ris!ing 0uic! death in o5ces where every day they felt their lives end one hour at a
time
This wee!, Tyler told them, "1o out and buy a gun."
Tyler gave one guy the telephone)boo! yellow pages and told him t 67 tear out an
advertisement. Then pass the boo! to the ne%t guy. .o two guys should go to the same
place
to buy or shoot.
"This," Tyler said, and he too! a gun out of his coat poc!et, "this is a gun, and in two
wee!s,
you should each of you have a gun about t Isis si4e to bring to meeting.
"Better you should pay for it with cash," Tyler said. ".e%t meeting, you'll all trade guns
and
report the gun you bought as stolen."
$hen Tyler invented 8ro'ect 9ayhem, Tyler said the goal of 8ro'ect 9ayhem had nothing
to
do with other people. Tyler didn't care if other people got hurt or not. The goal was to
teach
each man in the pro'ect that he had the power to control history. $e, each of us, can
ta!e
control of the world.
:on't thin! of this as e%tinction. Thin! of this as downsi4ing.
"or thousands of years, human beings had screwed up and trashed and crapped on this
planet, and now history e%pected me to clean up after everyone. I have to wash out and
;atten
my soup cans. nd account for every drop of used motor oil.
nd I have to foot the bill for nuclear waste and buried gasoline tan!s and landflled to%ic
sludge dumped a generation before I was born
I wanted to breathe smo!e.
Birds and deer are a silly lu%ury, and all the fsh should be ;oating.
I wanted to burn the +ouvre. I'd do the 2lgin 9arbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my
ass
with the 9ona +ira. This is my world, now.
This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are dead.
'e wanted to blast the world free of history.
$e were eating brea!fast in the house on 8aper &treet, and Tyler said, picture yourself
planting radishes and seed potatoes on the ffteenth green of a forgotten golf course.
You'll hunt el! through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of <oc!efeller 3enter,
and
dig clams ne%t to the s!eleton of the &pace .eedle leaning at a forty)fve)degree angle.
$e'll
paint the s!yscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin ti!is, and every evening what's
left of
man!ind will retreat to empty 4oos and loc! itself in cages as protection against bears
and big
cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night.
"<ecycling and speed limits are bullshit," Tyler said. "They're li!e someone who 0uits
smo!ing
on his deathbed."
It's 8ro'ect 9ayhem that's going to save the world. cultural ice age. prematurely
induced
dar! age. 8ro'ect 9ayhem will force humanity to go dormant or into remission long
enough
for the 2arth to recover.
"You 'ustify anarchy," Tyler says. "You fgure it out."
+i!e fght club does with cler!s and bo% boys, 8ro'ect 9ayhem will brea! up civili4ation
so we
can, ma!e something better out of the world.
"Imagine," Tyler said, "stal!ing el! past department store windows and stin!ing rac!s of
beautiful rotting dresses and tu%edos on hangers= you'll wear leather clothes that will
last you
the rest of your life, and you'll climb the wristthic! !ud4u vines that wrap the &ears
Tower. (ac!
and the beanstal!, you'll climb up through the dripping forest canopy and the air will be
so
clean you'll see tiny fgures pounding corn and laying strips of venison to dry in the
empty car
pool lane of an abandoned superhighway stretching eight)lanes)wide and ugust)hot for
a
thousand miles."
This was the goal of 8ro'ect 9ayhem, Tyler said, the complete and rightaway destruction
of
civili4ation.
"It doesn't matter," Tyler says. "If the applicant is young, we tell him he's too young. If
he's fat,
he's too fat. If he's old, he's too old.
Thin, he's too thin. $hite, he's too white. Blac!, he's too blac!."
This is how Buddhist temples have tested applicants going bac! for bah4illion years,
Tyler
says. You tell the applicant to go away, and if his resolve is so strong that he waits at the
entrance without food or shelter or encouragement for three days, then and only then
can he
enter and begin the training
$hen I come home, one space mon!ey is reading to the assembled space mon!eys who
sit
covering the whole frst ;oor. "You are not a beautiful and uni0ue snow;a!e. You are the
same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same
compost pile."
"*ur culture has made us all the same. .o one is truly white or
blac! or rich, anymore. $e all want the same. Individually, we are nothing."
The mechanic yells out the window, "s long as you're at fght club, you're not how
much
money you've got in the ban!. You're not your 'ob. You're not your family, and you're not
who you tell yourself."
The mechanic yells into the wind, "You're not your name."
space mon!ey in the bac! seat pic!s it up> "You're not your problems."
The mechanic yells, "You're not your problems."
space mon!ey shouts, "You're not your age."
The mechanic yells, "You're not your age."
/eadlights come at us, bigger and bigger, horns screaming, and the mechanic cranes
forward
into the glare and noise and screams, "You are not your hopes.
nother car, and the mechanic screams, "$e are all going to die, someday."
This time, the oncoming car swerves, but the mechanic swerves hac! into its path. The
car
swerves, and the mechanic matches it, headon, again.
You melt and swell at that moment. "or that moment, nothing matters. +oo! up at the
stars
and you're gone. .ot your luggage. .othing matters. .ot your bad breath. The windows
are
dar! outside and the horns are blaring around you. The headlights are ;ashing high and
low
and high in your face, and you will never have to go to wor! again.
You will never have to get another haircut.
"?uic!," the mechanic says.
The car swerves again, and the mechanic swerves bac! into its path
"$hat," he says, "what will you wish you'd done before you died-"
$ith the oncoming car screaming its horn and the mechanic so cool he even loo!s away
to
loo! at me beside him in the front seat, and he says, "Ten seconds to impact.
".ine.
"In eight.
"&even.
"In si%."
9y 'ob, I say. I wish I'd 0uit my 'ob.
The scream goes by as the car swerves and the mechanic doesn't swerve to hit it.
9ore lights are coming at us 'ust ahead, and the mechanic turns to the three mon!eys in
the
bac! seat. "/ey, space mon!eys," he says, "you see how the game's played. "ess up
now or
we're all dead."
"$hat will you wish you'd done before you died-" the mechanic says and swerves us into
the
path of a truc! coming head)on. The truc! hits the air horn, bellowing one long blast
after
another as the truc!'s headlights, li!e a sunrise, come brighter and brighter to spar!le
o@ the
mechanic's smile.
"9a!e your wish, 0uic!," he says to the rearview mirror where the three space mon!eys
are
sitting in the bac! seat. "$e've got fve seconds to oblivion.
"*ne," he says.
"Two."
The truc! is everything in front of us, blinding bright and roaring.
"Three."
"<ide a horse," comes from the bac! seat.
"Build a house," comes another voice.
"1et a tattoo."
The mechanic says, "Believe in me and you shall die, forever."
Ap above me, outlined against the stars in the window, the face smiles. "Those birthday
candles," he says, "they're the !ind that never go out."
*ne thing I'll have to learn before the end of civili4ation is how to loo! at the stars and
tell
where I'm going. Things are 0uiet as driving a 3adillac through outer space. $e must be
o@
the freeway. The three guys in the bac! seat are passed out or asleep.
"You had a near)life e%perience," the mechanic says.
"I see the strongest and the smartest men who have ever lived," he says, his face
outlined
against the stars in the driver's window, "and these men are pumping gas and waiting
tables."
The drop of his forehead, his brow, the slope of his nose, his eyelashes and the curve of
his
eyes, the plastic profle of his mouth, tal!ing, these are all outlined in blac! against the
stars.
"If we could put these men in training camps and fnish raising them.
"ll a gun does is focus an e%plosion in one direction.
"You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to
something. dvertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need.
1enerations have been wor!ing in 'obs they hate, 'ust so they can buy what they don't
really
need.
"$e don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have
a
great war of the spirit. $e have a great revolution against the culture. The great
depression is
our lives. $e have a spiritual depression.
"$e have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them
courage by frightening them.
".apoleon bragged that he could train men to sacrifce their lives for a scrap of ribbon.
"Imagine, when we call a stri!e and everyone refuses to wor! until we redistribute the
wealth
of the world.
"Imagine hunting el! through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of <oc!efeller
3enter.
T/2 T2<& $2<2 really coming now, and one fat stripe rolled along the barrel of the gun
and
down the loop around the trigger to burst ;at against my inde% fnger. <aymond /essel
closed
both eyes so I pressed the gun hard against his temple so he would always feel it
pressing right
there and I was beside him and this was his life and he could be dead at any moment
+isten, now, you're going to die, <ay)mond B. B. B. /essel, tonight. You might die in one
second or in one hour, you decide. &o lie to me. Tell me the frst thing o@ the top of your
head.
9a!e something up. I don't give a shit. I have the gun.
"inally, you were listening and coming out of the little tragedy in your head.
"ill in the blan!. $hat does <aymond /essel want to be when he grows up-
1o home, you said you 'ust wanted to go home, please.
.o shit, I said. But after that, how did you want to spend your life- If you could do
anything in
the world.
You could be in school wor!ing your ass o@, <aymond /essel, or you could be dead. You
choose. I stu@ed your wallet into the bac! poc!et of your 'eans. &o you really wanted to
be an
animal doctor. I too! the saltwater mu44le of the gun o@ one chee! and pressed it
against the
other. Is that what you've always wanted to be, :r. <aymond B. B. B. B. /essel, a
veterinarian-
1et out of here, and do your little life, but remember I'm watching you, <aymond /essel,
and
I'd rather !ill you than see you wor!ing a shit 'ob for 'ust enough money to buy cheese
and
watch television
<aymond B. B. /essel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you've ever
eaten,
and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life.
"<emember this," Tyler said. "The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you
depend
on. $e're the people who do your laundry and coo! your food and serve your dinner. $e
ma!e your bed. $e guard you while you're asleep. $e drive the ambulances. $e direct
your
call. $e are coo!s and ta%i drivers and we !now everything about you. $e process your
insurance claims and credit card charges. $e control every part of your life.
"$e are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll
be
millionaires and movie stars and roc! stars, but we won't. nd we're 'ust learning this
fact,"
Tyler said. "&o don't fuc! with us."
I was tired and cra4y and rushed, and every time I boarded a plane, I wanted the plane
to
crash. I envied people dying of cancer. I hated my life. I was tired and bored with my 'ob
and
my furniture, and I couldn't see any way to change things.
*nly end them.
I felt trapped.
I was too complete.
I was too perfect.
I wanted a way out of my tiny life. &ingle)serving butter and cramped airline seat role in
the
world.
*n a long enough time line, everyone's survival rate drops to 4ero
*nly in death will we have our own names since only in death are we no longer part of
the
e@ort. In death we become heroes.
"'e're going to break up !ivili(ation so we !an make something better out of the world.

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