The Night of the Gun


Some words from David Carr’s The Night of the Gun:

“Every hangover begins with an inventory.” (8)

“I’m not obsessed with my own privates, but I’m not one to point a pistol at them, either.” (13)

“Tucked in safe suburban redoubts, kids who had it soft like me manufactured peri. When there is no edge, we make our own, reaching for something that would approximate the cliche of being fully alive because we could die at any minute. That search for sensation leads to the self divorcing from the body, a la Descartes, and a life of faux peril. Everything that brought me joy involved risk.” (19)

“Truth is singular and lies are plural, but history—the facts of what happened—is both immutable and mostly unknowable. Can I somehow remember enough to type my way to an unvarnished recitation of what happened to me? No chance.” (25)

“Muskie fishing is an apt metaphor for the lot of the common man. You could make as many as twelve thousand casts on average before you caught one. If Sisyphus were around, he’d be a muskie man.” (36)

“The difference between my status above ground and his below is luck and another more.” (105)

“Everyone works for someone. The hooker is either working for the pimp or her two-year-old. The stripper works for the dope dealer or the no-good boyfriend. And the deeper I went into the drug economy, I found that everyone, even the person who managed big money and serious weight, was working for someone else. During most of this time, we were all probably working for Pablo Escobar in one form or another. And he probably worked for someone, too.” (108)

“Episodic and semantic memory each lie in different ways, but each is eventually deployed in service of completing a story. Stories are how we explain ourselves to each other with the remorseless truth always somewhere between the lines of what is told. In this way, memory becomes not a faculty but a coconspirator, a tool for constructing the self that we show the world.” (183)

“Vinny, without his antipsychotics, took to making moonlight patrols, muttering as he thrashed around in the swampy parts of the island. He’d walk back into the light of the fire at night with his eyes ablaze. One night his grin was particularly epic, and someone asked him if the cat had swallowed his tongue. He opened his mouth very ceremonially to reveal a little painted turtle. It patched out on his tongue, trying to get away.” (207)

“If there had been a big vat of Kool-Aid, I would have jumped in and started backstroking.” (323)

By Ben van Loon

Writer, Researcher, Chicagoan

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