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Unintended Consequences: A Fight Club Story

Unintended Consequences: A Fight Club Story

“And the second rule of the Haunted Tunnel Tour,” the cowboy, his whiskey smell says, “is you don’t talk about the Haunted Tunnel Tour….

The rope, the feeling of braided fibers, is twisted hard and greasy smooth in my hand. And still stopped, pulling back on the rope, I tell him: Hey…

From the dark, the cowboy says, “Hey, what?”

I say, I wrote that book. 1

When Chuck Palahniuk started out to write Fight Club, he had absolutely no idea what kind of movement he was creating at the time.

The story, which was originally written during a bored afternoon at work to pass the time, has morphed over the years taken from the original text and turned into a movie – a movie which further convoluted the idea Palahniuk was trying to get across.

The idea, in fact, had nothing to do with revolution or standing tall above the confines of today’s society.

Think of the movie Citizen Kane, and how the faceless, nameless newsreel reporters create the framework for telling the story from a lot of different sources.

That’s what I wanted to do. That one, boring afternoon at work.

So for that chorus— that “transitional device”— I wrote eight rules. The whole idea of a fight club wasn’t important. It was arbitrary. But the eight rules had to apply to something so why not a club where you could ask someone to fight? 2

The book was written to tell a story. The theme of a fight club was thrown in as a way to intertwine several ideas without losing the reader. Heck, the story started as a seven page short-story. To help fill the void and turn it into a full-fledged book, Palahniuk borrowed stories from friends (hence the waiter mischief).

Since the story was turned into a movie and interpreted into hundreds of languages across dozens of countries, the idea has morphed into something that neither the writer nor the publisher could ever imagine (the story was originally sold for $50 by the way).

Now, Palahniuk’s refrigerator is covered with photos of strangers bruised and battered but brandishing a smile across their faces. Hell, the opening quote was from a real-life event where Palahniuk was on an excursion, and the trip leader didn’t even realize that the quote he used came from a book. All he knew was the movie.

The story had taken on a life of its own.

What’s Your Story?

About a year ago, I was sitting at a bit of a crossroads. I absolutely loved fitness and personal training. At the same time, I was becoming increasingly interested in other career fields.

The situation itself was rather scary. From an early age, we’ve been taught to appreciate security and clear paths. While personal training offered little in terms of financial security, the career path was very clear. I trained throughout my undergrad degree. Both of my degrees were in Exercise Science. I managed a personal training program during my time in graduate school. The common sense thing to do would be either personal training or managing a personal training studio after graduation.

Against my better instinct, I took the plunge and completely shifted my career focus. The plunge was scary, and I wasn’t sure where I would end up on the other side.

Seven months later, I can say that the plunge was worth it. I’m extremely happy with where I am both professionally and personally. My story has taken on a life of its own. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with many projects and opportunities that I would have never predicted. I’ve been able to network with individuals that I admired and sought to emulate when I began writing and blogging. The whole transition has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, but I’m grateful to say that there have been many more peaks than valleys.

Far too often, we hold back because we’re afraid of what could lie around the corner. The fear of the unknown is absolutely paralyzing.

But, what if the consequences of our decisions weren’t always negative? What if sometimes they worked out?

I tell the story of Chuck Palahniuk to illustrate the unintended consequences that can come about from a bit of action. One guy wrote a little seven-page short story during an afternoon at work. That story became practically a bible of sorts for rebellious youngsters and transformed into a movie that lives on the shelves of nearly every college-aged kid.

If that can happen, just think of the possibilities.

Photo credit: FlippingSocial.com

Quote: 1. Palahniuk, Chuck (2005-10-17). Fight Club: A Novel (Kindle Locations 2540-2543). Norton. Kindle Edition. 2. Palahniuk, Chuck (2005-10-17). Fight Club: A Novel (Kindle Locations 2588-2592). Norton. Kindle Edition.

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