For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock 'n' roll all the way. Within the span of twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end -- one by choice, one by chance, and one by exhaustion. He snorted cocaine in a graveyard. He walked a half-mile through a bean field. A man in Dickinson, North Dakota, explained to him why we have fewer windmills than we used to. He listened to the KISS solo albums and the Rod Stewart box set. At one point, poisonous snakes became involved. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing...and what this means for the rest of us.
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1 . Strikes a Chord
Posted January 12, 2010 by Craig Clarke , Stratford, PEThe quirky and introspective Klosterman provides a perspective on life which is endearingly perplexing. You will either "get" him, or you won't. People outside the 18-40 age group will probably be in the latter category. I couldn't stop laughing.
June 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman
I am not qualified to live here.
I don't know what qualifications are necessary to live in any certain place at any given time, but I know I don't have them.
Ohio. I was qualified to live in Ohio. I like high school football. I enjoy Chinese buffet restaurants. I think the Pretenders' first record is okay. Living in Ohio was not outside my wheelhouse. But this place they call New York...this place that Lou Reed incessantly described to no one in particular...this place is more complicated. Everything is a grift, and everyone is a potential grifter. Before moving to Manhattan, I had only been here twice. Two days before I finally packed up my shit and left Akron, I had a phone conversation with the man who would be my immediate supervisor at Spin magazine, and I expressed my relocation insecurities. He tried to explain what my life here would be like; at the time, the only details I could remember about my two trips to New York were that (a) the bars didn't close until 4 A.M., and (b) there seemed to be an inordinate number of attractive women skulking about the street. "Don't let that fool you," my editor said as he (theoretically) stroked his Clapton-like beard. "I grew up in Minnesota, and I initially thought all the women in New York were beautiful, too. But here's the thing -- a lot of them are just cute girls from the Midwest who get expensive haircuts and spend too much time at the gym." This confused me, because that seems to be the definition of what a beautiful woman is. However, I have slowly come to understand my bearded editor's pretzel logic: Sexuality is 15 percent real and 85 percent illusion. The first time I was here, it was February. I kept seeing thin women waiting for taxicabs, and they were all wearing black turtlenecks, black mittens, black scarves, and black stocking caps...but no jackets. None of them wore jackets. It was 28 degrees. That attire (particularly within the context of such climatic conditions) can make any woman electrifying. Most of them were holding cigarettes, too. That always helps. I don't care what C. Everett Koop thinks. Smoking is usually a good decision.
Spin magazine is on the third floor of an office building on Lexington Avenue, a street often referred to as "Lex" by cast members of Law & Order. It is always the spring of 1996 in the offices of Spin; it will be the spring of 1996 forever. Just about everybody who works there looks like either (a) a member of the band Pavement, or (b) a girl who once dated a member of the band Pavement. The first time I walked into the office, three guys were talking about J Mascis for no apparent reason, and one of them was describing his guitar noodling as "trenchant." They had just returned from lunch. It was 3:30 P.M. I was the fifth-oldest person in the entire editorial department; I was 29.