“His name was Robert Paulson.”
“I’m sorry sir, but there are no names in Fight Club.”
“Oh, I get it. In death we get our names back!”
“His name was Robert Paulson!”
“His name was Robert Paulson!” © Chuck Palaniuk
I have no idea why this memory about Fight Club movie came to me one day as some sort of a revelation. I wrote it down in the notebook, but months later when I’ve read it, it made no significance at all. Yet I pondered it some more, and I remembered a poem I wrote over ten years ago.
It was about famous people that I’ve learned about in school. We were taught of them because they were inventors and geniuses. They were responsible for all the great things we had in life and we were learning of them. I secretly hated them all because I didn’t care for school. Those folks created or explored something and now I had to grind my brain into dust to learn what it was about. Frankly, some things I’ve learned in school are just plain useless, like geometry or organic chemistry. Maybe not to you, dear reader, but to me for sure.
Years later I started thinking that these famous people were not just inventors. They were people who lived lives, had families, had fun outside the lab (hopefully) and maybe never even expected their inventions to put their names into the gold fund of human culture and made them practically immortalized. So that poem was some sort of an apology to the bunch.
Having that brought to memory, the Fight Club paragraph I freely quoted out of memory makes sense. Robert Paulson (in the movie played by Meat Loaf) gets killed during putting Project Mayhem into life. In the past he was a famous wrestler, but after experimenting with steroids becomes extremely obese, as the result of which his children turned away from him. After going to self-help groups for people with near fatal health issues (I think Robert had testicle cancer), he joins Fight Club. FC mission gets him killed, but it appears he had the most fun in his later life by serving Project Mayhem.
What does this matter?
I will make here a brave assumption that we all want to be Robert Paulsons. If we are nobodies, that is. Nobodies that tried to accomplish something special, but got either fucked by life or by our own actions (too much, too soon, not enough, etc.) We want to carry something out in life that people may even benefit from (Project Mayhem was originally designed to liberate the masses, in a crude way though), and then hailed as heroes, even if fallen in the line of duty. But it’s not to be greatly famous. It’s to be happy with what we are doing and feeling validated for our efforts. Having our names included into the gold fund of human culture and becoming immortalized probably isn’t the goal. We just want our efforts to count. Well, at least I know I do.
Cliff Burton, the second of official four Metallica bass players, and the most famous of them, said that if you wanted to succeed in something, you need to marry yourself to it. I liked that expression that was attributed to him the first time I read it, over 20 years ago. At that time, I was trying to learn playing guitar, but I haven’t put a lot of effort into it and I haven’t got far, naturally. I saw however that my writing was getting better and there were certainly more people appreciating my efforts in putting stories together. So, I’ve stuck with writing. I can’t say I got much success. Quite the opposite. Trying to break through, I submit my stories to competitions of all kinds, but deep inside I know I need to be writing query letters to get longer stories in. And what do I do about that? Procrastinate by keeping writing longer stories and keeping submitting shorter ones to magazine competitions.
Writing is fun, and stories are good, but lately only one other person reads them. Maybe one day I will learn to do the right thing… before Project Mayhem of my own kind gets me checked out for good.
the image was copied from https://fightclub.fandom.com/wiki/Robert_Paulson
thank you, Fight Club fan page