**I originally published this last Wednesday as a note on Facebook; I thought my Blogger peeps would like to read it too, enjoy**
Today, I am exhausted, but last night was totally worth it. As soon as I saw Chuck Klosterman (and that’s pronounced “CLOSE-ter-man”, I was so disappointed) was going to speak at WKU, I knew I would try to be there. I think it’s ironic that I now work for WKU after all these years, but that doesn’t mean I’m still afraid of climbing the hills; oh boy, that climb up to Van Meter was a bitch for this 35-year-old. It reminded me of my first year; I lived at Bemis-Lawrence, so every class was near or at the top of the hill. Klosterman had originally been scheduled to speak last month, however, a death in the family would postpone his appearance. And poor Chuck was fighting a cold last night, oh well, welcome to the Ohio Valley! I suppose I should provide some background. You know I can’t remember when I first heard of Klosterman; I may have seen him on a VH1 show; he was interviewed for their “Heavy: The History of Metal” series. Maybe someone recommended his books? I really can’t remember. All I know is, if you know me well, I’m NOT much of a book reader. I was so glad when I was finished with school because I would never have to pick up another book as long as I lived. Okay, well I have read for fun in these twelve years since I graduated and I haven’t a more entertaining experience than reading three of Chuck’s books. I have IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, but I just recently started it. He has since written a novel, Downtown Owl and another book of essays, Eating the Dinosaur. And all of his books were on sale before and after the lecture for 10 bucks a pop last night, lucky.
Another factor working against me last night was the weather, I’ll get to that later. When I finally ascended the last step to reach the entrance of Van Meter, I noticed a lot of college kids who I know were only there for extra credit, hell, I would have done it. And most of these kids were what I call “posers”, yes, they still exist. You know them, I saw two playing frisbee in front of the Van Meter fountain, the kids with funny haircuts, I saw one dude with a red bandanna on his head. Yeah, they take me back. I’d say most posers are appreciative of Klosterman’s work, although he himself, is definitely not one. I would call Chuck a rural kid, which he’s from North Dakota, who’s into writing, music, and sports. He may only appear like he was a poser now with the full beard he’s been sporting for a couple of years now. I should note one poser quality he did possess last night, he had bright neon orange laces in his sneakers, which were probably a well-loved pair of Vans. I hauled all my Klosterman books and a camera with me in my purse; nerd alert! However, I had to remove a notepad out of my purse to make room for all my loot. Thus, I was stuck without anything to jot notes down on. I know I was surrounded by a lot of people who had a lot of paper, but at the last minute, I turned to an older lady behind me and I asked if I could borrow a piece. She showed me it was only a piece from a BLUE BOOK! Wow, I didn’t care…that takes me back too. It was a piece of paper and it had two sides, I was good to go.
Dr. David Lee, the Dean of Potter College (STILL) introduced Klosterman and one comment he made concerning the books was two were going to be made into movies?!? What?!? I freaked out, but I kept my cool. Then I thought, “which one would make a good movie?” Fargo Rock City for sure! And probably Killing Yourself to Live which Chuck said last night is his favorite he’s written. Okay, I won’t go through every single thing he said, but here are some highlights:
-He was fighting a cold and he said everywhere he went, people were offering him medicine/remedies. He found his favorite was Fisherman’s Friend cough drops, because apparently, fishermen are the sickest people on the planet
-He commented on the many hills and he said all WKU graduates and students have “great calves.”
-He dropped ONE F-bomb.
-He calls pop culture “the soundtrack to your existence” kind of like Dick Clark’s famous quote “music is the soundtrack of your life”, who’s keeping score?
-He took questions and he said people in his audiences usually “try to outweird him”, plus it should be noted, he called WKU one of the more polite campuses he had been to.
-He said Austin TX is full of acid dealers…but he’s never touched the stuff.
-One girl asked if America was losing its culture identity and Klosterman had an interesting answer, he said Nascar fans were a big part–I’m paraphrasing-of keeping our culture alive.
-He was asked if he had seen TRON: Legacy and his answer was hilarious: “You can’t get high enough for that movie to be good.” I guess I would have found it funnier if I had seen it, but hey I get it.
-He admitted he’s traded his physical cds for iTunes, which he’s scared to death it will one day crash, mine did back in December, NOT cool.
-Another great quote, “Irrational matters way more.” this was in referring to an unpublished piece he read for the audience in telling the difference between watching live sporting events as opposed to DVR’ed ones…only HE could write such a piece, one line, “watching a DVR game is like trying to hug a dead body.”
That unpublished piece will be part of a new website Klosterman said he’s working with ESPN on; he’s contributed at lot to the network and he’s been heard on a few network-affiliated podcasts. He said the site will consist of “60% sports, 40% culture”, he said this would possibly kick off in June. And now that we are living in a totally social-media dominated world, Klosterman said “everyone wants to break the news”, you know about it before you even read it. When asked what music he’s been listening to lately, Klosterman sang the praises of new band Yuck, I’ve heard of them, he said they sounded like a cross between Pavement and Dinosaur Jr…aren’t they sort of the same?
The total program lasted about 45 minutes, then Klosterman would be signing books. YEAH! Here’s another sign most students were there for extra credit, now WKU has this hand-held scan system that scans a student’s ID to prove he/she was there. Wow! I didn’t wait that long in line and I’m sure I looked like an uber-nerd holding all those books and a camera. When I got to Chuck he opened his eyes really wide and said “Hi!” now I have two theories why he acted so surprised, A: my hair, it was spiky last night and B: I plopped down 4 of his books. Then we got our picture taken. I’m so honored to have met one of my literary and my personal heroes.
Now, onto the weather. I knew it was going to be stormy night, but for Bowling Green, the storms wouldn’t get there until probably after midnight. I called my friends to ask if a stormy situation developed, would I be able to crash there? They agreed, plus they wanted me to come over and visit anyway–GLEE NIGHT! I kept calling my Mom every hour on the hour and she kept telling me nothing had arrived in Hartford yet. And it wouldn’t until probably about 10:30-11…however, I went ahead and I decided to remain on the side of safety and wait it out and sleep on it. The storms blew through BG quite quickly around 1:30a. I slept maybe 3 hours, but again, it was worth it.
By the way, when I asked Chuck which of his books were being turned into movies, he didn’t say which ones specifically and he said they had been optioned, but who knows?