Saturday, December 20, 2014

Part Eighteen of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Nine: Cheryl Continues to Not Understand Things

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Eighteen, Chapter Nine: Cheryl Continues to Not Understand Things



Chapter Nine finds Cheryl fresh off the bus in Sierra City, having just skipped 450 goddamned miles of the PCT because it was going to be too hard.  She claims 1) that her new final destination, The Bridge of the Gods, is 1008 miles away and 2) she has already hiked 170 miles.

No and no.

There are these things called maps.  Everyone can buy them, but not everyone can use them properly.  Maps are crazy like that.

First of all, The Bridge of the Gods is 957 miles away, not 1008.  Second, she is still insisting on claiming the 30 miles she yellow-blazed from Ridgecrest to Walker Pass (remember how the BLM lady gave her a ride?  I remember).  She has not hiked 170 miles.

Hey, look.  A map.
 
 
By my calculations, she hiked (supposedly) 105.5 from just outside Mojave to Kennedy Meadows, and another 39.6 miles from Kennedy Meadows to Trail Pass Trail, where she got off to catch a bus.  That comes to a grand total of 145.1 miles-- NOT 170.  The math still doesn't quite add up because Cheryl is full of shit and god knows just exactly how many miles she's actually hiked at this point, but just for giggles, let's go with 145.1 which, it should be noted, has taken her THREE GODDAMNED WEEKS to cover.  It took me two and a half days to walk 120 miles, so... GOOD JOB, CHERYL.  YOU'RE CRUSHING IT.
 
She says goodbye to Greg and it goes just about how you'd imagine it would, full of eyes meeting and hard embraces and oh, go fuck yourself.  Alone again on the trail, she soon encounters more snow and then, motherfuckingfuckfuckfuckfuckgoddamnit, you stupid waste of carbon and air, she says,
 
"I didn't have my ice ax any longer.  I'd left it that morning in the PCT hiker free box at the Sierra City Post Office as Greg and I strolled out of town.  I didn't have the money to mail it back to Lisa's, much to my regret, given its expense, but I wasn't willing to carry it either, believing I'd have no use for it from here on out."  [emphasis mine]

 ARE.  YOU.  FUCKING.  KIDDING.  ME.

SHE REALLY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING.

There are so many points in this book when, upon even attempting to understand what the fuck was going on in her brain, this is what happens to me:

I'm so tired of cleaning my walls.
 
 
 
This asshole is carrying how many books, but she isn't willing to carry the weight of something that could possibly save her dumb fucking life because of course.  I checked the REI website for ice axes, and the cheapest one I could find (the one I assume Cheryl would have bought) weighed a grand total of 452 GRAMS.  That's NOT EVEN ONE POUND, and she couldn't be bothered to carry that totally useless extra weight.  Unfuckingbelievable.  Why can't she just die.
 
So ermahgerd, there's still snow and shit-- who would have even guessed-- and she's trying to cross it, it isn't going very well and then damn the bad luck, she drops a nickel of the sixty-five cents she has left into the snow, can't retrieve it and cue Full Cheryl Meltdown.
 
"I remembered the nickel in Vegas, the one with which I'd played the slots and won sixty dollars.  I laughed out loud thinking about it, feeling as if these two nickels were connected, though I couldn't explain why other than to say the daffy thought came to me as I stood there in the snow that day.  Maybe losing the nickel was good luck the same way that the black feather that symbolized the void actually meant something positive.  Maybe I wasn't really in the very midst of the thing I'd just worked so hard to avoid.  Maybe around the next bend I'd be in the clear."
Maybe you just dropped a nickel.
 
 
 She thinks she might be lost because the snow is covering the trail, tries to use her compass and fails and YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHY.
 
"I tried to remember all I could from Staying Found, which I'd burned long ago."

She burned a book she never really bothered to read/understand in the first place-- a book that, like the ice ax, could very well could have meant life or death on the trail.  I'm sorry, but this is gonna happen again:

I'm just gonna paint my walls red.
 
 
What the fuck is wrong with her, and why do so many people think she's an inspiration.  Really. 
 
She then says this thing:
 
"I'd never had a mind for math.  I simply couldn't hold the formulas and numbers in my head.  It was a logic that made little sense to me.  In my perception, the world wasn't a graph or a formula or an equation.  It was a story."

I just---

I should stop putting my head back together and save us all from the rest of the book.
 
She then tries to be super clever by composing a mathematical word problem and it's too stupid to even bother quoting because it doesn't make any sense and omg, she's so amazing and brave and such a great writer, I <3 this book so much.
 
She has another clumsy flashback to remind us about how she was totally hardcore into heroin and how everyone was totes worried about her, then spends an entire paragraph pointing out what a victim she is because nothing is ever her fault.
 
Blah, blah, blah, more shit I don't care about and then-- I feel like there should be a theme song at this point-- it's another episode of Identifying Animals with Cheryl, and this time it is a fox.  She almost shits her pants due to her completely irrational and unnecessary fear of animals and fights "the urge to scramble to my feet and leap behind the tree for protection" because she doesn't understand how foxes work.
"Or trees." --my sister, Sienna
 
"'Fox,' I whispered in the gentlest possible voice I could, as if by naming him I could both defend myself against him and also draw him nearer."
I--- what?
 
The fox is having none of this and immediately decides to get the hell away from her and then,
 
"'Come back,' I called lightly, and then suddenly shouted, 'MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!'"

You know what...

What the fuck.  I'll spare you another insertion of the exploding-head guy.  But know that my brains are all over the wall again.

Blah, blah, blah, she claims to have covered more trail than she has, admits that she's running low on food because she doesn't understand how math works and hitchhikes to the next town.

Chapter Nine, out.




35 comments:

  1. Thank you thank you. That is all.

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    1. I just found your blog after finishing that gem of a book and cannot stop reading the entries. Thank you and your amazing commenters for confirming so much of what bothered me and making me explode with laughter. You are incredible!

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    2. Bunnie, welcome! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. There's much more to come.

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  2. God: "So..Cheryl... I gave you all of these tools for your hike. I had these writers write books about staying alive. I had people throw conferences and even had REI give classes where you could learn to use your stove and an ice ax."
    Cheryl: "Uh huh"
    God: "So...I also gave you maps and seasoned hikers and, well, I hate to brag, but I had people invent compasses. I was concerned for your safety."
    Cheryl: "Oh. I know. Great ideas, btw."
    God: "And...I'm just wondering, why you didn't use ANY of these things on your hike?"
    Cheryl: "Silly god. You made me hot and invented condoms."

    At least, that's how this agnostic envisions a conversation between Cheryl and God would go down.

    She's literally too stupid to live and not at all admirable. I'm not sure how she survived. Clearly, there must be a god and Cheryl's mom must've been making a pact with him because I'm not sure how she lived otherwise.

    I hear music when I read the fox chapter. "WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY?"
    But, really, I just think the fox sensed the condoms and desperation and decided interspecies breeding was a bad thing.

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    1. Oh, hell, if both you and Califohian don't collaborate on you own book, I'm going to be very disappointed. You both are two very funny people that have absolutely made my "day(s)" by reading this blog and the comments.

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    2. Gah, I misspelled again... Califohioan !!! Sorry!

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    3. Yes please! Please do this! That would be amazing.

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  3. Loving this review! Also, it took you two and a half days to walk 120 miles?! That sounds insanely fast! I'm impressed, I don't think I bike that fast.

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    1. Libby, thanks for reading!

      My two and a half days were very different than what Cheryl would accomplish in two and a half days. I got up before sunrise and walked between 12 and 15 hours each day at a brisk 4mph pace (I naturally walk very quickly and my pack was under 20 pounds). Unlike Cheryl, who went on a supposed 1100-mile hike with a $1000 camera and only managed to take four whole pictures the entire time, I have tons of photos from my short journey-- landmarks, mileage signs, people I met along the way. Imagine that.

      Thanks again for reading. Cheers, friend!

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    2. And why the fuck didn't she take any pics with all these guys in the trail? She likes to brag (obviously), so wouldn't she want to show she's always the lone 'hot' (barf) lady (loose use of the word) on the trail?

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  4. know why people like this book because there are alot of dumb fucking people like cheryl

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  5. "Part eighteen." Then you go on just to talk about how you walk 120 miles in two days...

    Again, "Part eighteen." Do you know what OBSESSIVE JEALOUSY is, my child? Despite your trail blazing elitism and your insatiable desire to be the New York Times Best Seller that Cheryl is--along with the many other things she is like a loving mom and wife--are things you'll never accomplish with your Infantile Narcissism and bush-league blog, my child.

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    1. Bob--

      Welcome to the party! I don't think you'll fit in here, but welcome.

      Congratulations on being able to identify the fact that this post is Part Eighteen. You seem particularly proud about your familiarity with numbers; I assume this is why you said "part eighteen" twice. If I could, I'd put a little gold star on your forehead and enthusiastically exclaim, "Good job, Buddy," because that's the appropriate way to address children or the mentally handicapped.

      I know you tried super hard to write a sentence, but you didn't do very well, did you. If we were to remove the words enclosed by em dashes, your sentence would read, "Despite your trail blazing elitism and your insatiable desire to be the New York Times Best Seller that Cheryl is, are things you'll never accomplish with your Infantile Narcissism and bush-league blog, my child." That doesn't make any sense. You don't seem to understand how em dashes work, but that isn't surprising seeing as you also don't seem to understand that *people* cannot be New York Times Best Sellers. It was a good try, though, buddy! You keep trying to put words together! You'll get it one day!

      Also, quit saying "my child." It makes you sound like an asshole, which I'm guessing isn't too far from the truth. I'm not your child, and thank god for that. Why are Cheryl Strayed fans such condescending douche nozzles? Oh, wait. It's because you're Cheryl Strayed fans.

      Why exactly am I supposedly jealous of Cheryl? Is it because I secretly want to be a shitty writer? Is it because I secretly want to be a lying whore? You're a fucking idiot, Bob. I think it's time you took your tampon out; the toxic shock is getting to you.

      "Loving mom and wife." Nope and nope. My sources tell me that her current husband has cheated on her because she's a shitty wife and that she neglects her children in the worst way. Stop talking out of your ass just because you have a boner for her.

      Yes, Bob, I *did* walk 120 miles in two *and a half* days. I'm sorry if this somehow threatens or offends you, except the opposite of that. I'm not sorry at all.

      In conclusion, go fuck yourself. I'm going to post your stupid comment on my social media and let my readers tear you to shreds. Can't wait for more of your comments, fucktard.

      Hugs and kisses,
      Cali

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    2. LOL! Might this be our Deceitful Dame herself? Cheryl actually refers to herself as a "New York Times Bestseller" online. I've often wanted to point out to her that she is NOT a bestseller, but then again reading comprehension and Cheryl Strayed only have a grudging, uncomfortable acquaintance.

      "My child!" Oh my fucking God. That is SOOO fucking Cheryl. Listen up Sweet Pea, I'll take in-your-face hostility any day over passive-aggressive polite condescendence.

      Yep, this is either Cheryl herself or another lack-wit, mentally ill, NAMI-marching, reality-denying, sycophant who probably quit taking Zoloft 3 days again cuz it made him "feel fuzzy."

      Loving wife & mother. Are you serious? Do you know your "hero" stabbed her husband in one of her fits of mental instability? Huh, didya?

      "Bob" F-you, "Bob." Are you even a man? Who knows? Who cares? Go back and re-read Wild for the 14th time while furtively and chaffingly masturbating yourself to sleep every night pretending you and Cheryl are Wilco-ing each other in a tent filled with the scent of unwashed bodies.

      Bob bob bob

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    3. Mercer, I love you so hard. I really do.

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    4. Do the math, Bob (I hope you're better at math than you are at writing sentences). Cali is obsessively jealous? Of Cheryl/Cankles? Really, you should read the whole blog, starting with Part 1. Why are you obsessed with Part 18? Cheryl IS a crappy writer and what makes you think she is a loving mom & wife? All she cares about is publicity and herself. Bottom line: she is a big fat liar. She didn't hike 1000 miles. I doubt if she really hiked a total of 100 with all the hitch-hiking she did. Stop projecting Cheryl's narcissism on those who can see through her. And please, for god's sake, get a fucking life, moron. If you have any further questions, knock yourself out. We can hardly wait!

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    5. Cindi, I genuinely can't wait to meet you on the ADT next year. I owe you about a thousand hugs.

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    6. (Hope your husband doesn't mind.) :)

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    7. I cannot wait to meet you, either, Erin :) I owe you a thousand hugs + wine & chocolate! My husband would not mind and he loves you, too!

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    8. To be fair to Bob, he did say that Cheryl is only like a loving mom and wife, not actually a loving mom and wife.

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    9. "Bob," or Cheryl, I hope Cali's blog made you cry and writhe in envy. I learned in high school, oh, yo, many decades ago, that "best seller" lists were contrived bullshit. Speaking of contrived bullshit, hi, Cheryl!

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    10. Bob, you poor clueless thing...

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  6. You're adorable, Bob. Thanks for playing.

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  7. ok I have to chime in on this good wife she cheated on the first husband and this one has cheated on her tell you any thing and good mother she killed her first child and the two she has now has been raised by a nanny she does not have time to be a mother or a wife best seller will we know how you get there don't we this man came to the wrong page he needs the page that said I LOVE CHERYL STRAYED AND ALL HE LIES lmao

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  8. Bob,

    I am sure I am no less an asshole than any of the other regulars in this group, so I could go to town on you like they have, but I am going to take a different tack. I have no idea if you are a douchebag, or an idiot, or if you are a perfectly pleasant, God-fearing foster dad who has single-handedly turned around the lives of dozens of wayward children. Maybe you're a peach in real life. Weirder things have happened. What I do know is that you are being ignorant. Don't get us wrong. As vehemently opposed to your comments as my friends here are, we actually quite appreciate well-reasoned, articulate opposition. But that's not what you have given us. Rather, you have made assertions about both Cali and Cheryl Strayed that are flat out wrong and based on no actual evidence. The reason we rip into Cheryl is because she has put herself out into the world as an inspiration, when, in reality, she is a fraud and frauds should be exposed. Dedicating one's time and energy to such exposure is neither elitist nor narcissistic. It is necessary to counter the fleecing Cheryl Strayed perpetuates. Your insistence that Cali is jealous of Cheryl because of that exposure is as flawed an argument as your insistence that Cheryl is a good...anything (writer, wife, mother, etc.). Thousands of people around the world have collected reams of evidence to the contrary, yet people like you continue to believe her nonsense.

    You don't have to go, Bob. If you want to participate in a genuine debate from a position of rational, fact-endorsed opinion, we will be happy to have you. We'll probably be caustic, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate the banter. However, if you intend to continue spouting unfounded and, frankly, obnoxiously asinine assertions, you can be on your way and we won't think twice about your departure. Your call.

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  9. oh come on BOBBY stay you may learn something about your Cheryl you didn't know I agree start at the beginning word for word I think we may not change your mind but it will make you think that you have been lied to and me personally I HATE being lied to

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  10. I've voiced my contempt for Cheryl repeatedly and am dismissed with "you're so jealous of her for being a wildly successful writer"

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  11. FUCKING YESSSSS I HATE THAT BITCH TOO SHES SUCH A FUCKING LIAR

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  12. Hi,

    First of all, I have to admit that I admire your ability to full heartedly express your opinion in such a public way. But since you have put your opinion in a blog, where anyone can comment, I would like to state my opinion as well. First of all the whole point of the book is not to brag how many miles she has hiked, it's about what she learned on the trail. And what she learned was not only about how to be independent and challenge herself but also give her time to reflect on her mothers death, her drug addiction, and also her path in life. The PCT may be different for some like yourself, who may use it to exercise and define their athletic prowess. But for Cheryl, as she expresses, is to take a step away from society's pressures and be free on the PCT; not to be influenced by the heavy demand of everyday life, that pushes you forward even when you need a brake. So Cheryl may not have hiked very fast or covered many miles but that was not the point of her trip.

    P.S. She admits throughout the book how unprepared she was to hike the trial.

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    1. Oh, jesus. It's just so tiresome to respond to comments like yours at this point.

      First of all (and I'll only say "first of all" once because that's a thing), you're leaving a comment on a blog post from December 2014. It is now May 2017. Welcome to the party.

      Secondly, thanks for your opinion.

      Thirdly, here's what I think of your opinion:

      She lied about the whole thing. This hike never happened. I won't waste my time explaining how I know this; just read the damn blog.

      For the sake of your precious opinion, however, let's pretend for a moment that she didn't lie, and that she actually made this hike. The title of the book is, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail." That title seems indicitive of some sort of transformation, yet... she was a stupid asshole at the beginning and she was a stupid asshole at the end. Her only eventual epiphany was-- and I'm paraphrasing here-- "I'm a stupid asshole, but maybe that's okay. I should never change." Pardon me all over the place, but I don't think that qualifies as any sort of meaningful transformation.

      She is an awful, unlikeable character who blames the world for everything. She is a self absorbed, narcissistic, pathological liar. This book is mediocre pap, and only gullible idiots lap this shit up as inspirational truth. It's a load of bullshit and you fell for it. Good job.

      I'd write more, but 1) who even gives a shit at this point and 2) I just set up camp for the night under a bridge in Illinois-- the 8th state I'm walking through-- because I'm busy WALKING ACROSS AMERICA RIGHT NOW. I'm a real hiker doing a real hike and I've already walked 1,000 miles out of a 3,100-mile journey and I can fit the amount of fucks I give about your opinion into an empty palm.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  13. Well, responding to someone who calls his/herself "Feisty Troll" might be as useful as speaking Spanish with a Trump supporter, but here it goes.
    First, Strayed champions herself throughout the book, at one point even referring to herself as "kind of a an expert hiker". Her claims of not knowing what to do when she got out there were only included to show how her vast & superior intellect were able to overcome whatever obstacles nature threw at her.

    Strayed has no respect for "the wild." Since her book was published, she has repeatedly encouraged people to run out completely unprepared into the wilderness "like she did" (supposedly). The result? I dont know if you live in an area where there is a lot of wilderness hiking, but here in California, not a day goes by in which emergency responders have to rescue some teen on a vision quest or some 40/50-something going through a mid-life crisis. The worst ones even dragging their kids along with them to tumble off the sides of cliffs, get bitten by snakes, get lost for days without water, etc.
    Cheryl did it though, right? How hard could it be? Maybe it was the chewable opium that got her through the hardships.
    Bottom line: Cheryl's fictitious claims are getting people hurt.
    I had the fortunate experience of having read Strayed's work of fiction sandwiched in between Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" and The Barefoot Sisters' "Southbound." I highly recommend both books to “fans” of Cheryl Strayed. Reading actual, well-document accounts of hikers then reading Strayed’s will leave no uncertainty in your mind as to the fact Strayed made up at least 70% of her “memoir.” She’s been confronted so often with contradictions in her story, questions about some of her more outlandish claims, and evidence that she lifted parts of her book from other sources, that she had to come out with the lamest mea culpa of all time with some absurd statement about “oh haha, memory plays funny tricks. That’s why I called it a ‘memoir” tee hee!”
    Not convinced? Read through her “Dear Sugar” articles she penned before starting work on her book. Not a SINGLE MENTION of her “life changing” trek on the PCT or even any mention of camping. Well, I could go on and on with evidence of her lies. That’s what this blog is about. Drop Strayed as a role-model. Get to know this blog’s author instead, who is a TRUE American hero, a veteran raising awareness by ACTUALLY walking across the country.

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  14. From today's headlines:

    Inyo County Sheriff's Office:

    Search and Rescue UPDATE

    At noon today Dongying “Cindy” Qiu was located deceased at the base of a frozen waterfall near Outpost Camp. It is believed that she fell approximately 60 feet through a snow chute at the top of the waterfall (located on the southwest side of Outpost Camp, about a quarter mile off trail).

    “This is an incredibly tragic situation and based on the extreme snow conditions in the backcountry, this could have happened to anyone,” stated Inyo County Sheriff’s Corporal Nick Vaughn. “The entire search crew and the Sheriff’s Office extend their most sincere condolences to the Qiu family and friends during this very difficult time.”

    This was the second day of searching for the missing hiker. Support for today’s search was provided by Sierra Madre SAR, San Bernardino SAR, China Lake Mountain Rescue Mountain Rescue Group, Inyo SAR and aerial support provided by Army National Guard and CHP H-80.

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