Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Part Twenty-Five of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Twelve, Part One: Cheryl Fails at Life Again and Also Kills Some Frogs

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

Part Twenty-Five: Chapter Twelve, Part One: Cheryl Fails at Life Again and Also Kills Some Frogs


Chapter Twelve begins with a version of Cheryl we have not yet met-- sort of like the Anti-Cheryl-- because this Cheryl wakes up "at first light" and claims that it only takes her five minutes to pack up camp.  Well, that's just incredible!  The Cheryl we know wakes up around nine, lounges around for a couple hours and then takes forever to pack up camp, but *BLAM* she's suddenly an expert hiker now, apparently.  I don't know when this happened, but we're supposed to believe that she went from a totally clueless jackass to an expert super-hiker overnight.  Sure.  Whatever.

She talks about Monster again:

"Monster was my world, my inanimate extra limb.  Though its weight and size still confounded me, I'd come to accept that it was my burden to bear.  I didn't feel myself in contradiction to it the way I had a month before.  It wasn't me against it.  We two were one."
It's just a fucking pack, not your boyfriend.
 
 
She spends the next paragraph describing how awesome her muscles have become and how her skin is all beat up from carrying Monster, then launches into yet another long pity-party about her feet and STFU already, I don't care.  Finally, she explains that she has a whole sixty-four ounces of water to last her until the next (possible) water source located "fifteen searing miles across Hat Creek Rim," which had prompted me to write, "That's not gonna work" in the margin.
 
Cheryl starts hiking and makes an attempt at describing things but ends up just sounding like an angsty teenage girl because that's how Cheryl writes. 
 
About some dead trees:
 
"Their stark beauty bore down on me with a silent anguished force as I passed them by."
*eye-roll*
 
About the sky:
 
"The blue sky was everywhere above me..."
That's how the sky works.
 
 
This kind of drivel goes on for about half a page before something is profound again because of course it is, and I'm not going to go into detail with all of her flowery bullshit.  She says a lot of stupid, overwrought nonsense, the end.
 
To make things sound more interesting, she almost steps on another rattlesnake and no she doesn't.  "If I'd taken another few steps, I'd have been upon it," and how many times is this idiot almost going to step on a rattlesnake, which isn't even possible unless you're blind and deaf, or Cheryl Strayed.  She takes a break and spends the next paragraph having some kind of drama queen meltdown:
 
"I kept having the vague feeling that something lurked nearby, watching me, waiting to pounce.  I sat up and scanned the terrain for mountain lions, then lay back down, telling myself that there was nothing to fear, before I quickly sat up again at what I thought was the snap of a branch."
SPOILER: SHE NEVER GETS EATEN BY A MOUNTAIN LION.  THERE ARE NO MOUNTAIN LIONS.  EVER. 
 
 
Nothing happens because nothing ever happens and this is just Cheryl yet again trying to make things seem far more dramatic than they are.
 
Still miles away from the next (potential, but in no way guaranteed) water source, Cheryl drinks more than half of the little water she has and claims that it is now exactly 100 degrees outside.  She describes sweating in case we don't know how sweating works and offhandedly mentions how this is now her fifth week on the trail because she likes to bury the details.  She drinks more of her water and starts talking about flowers and I'm not doing this.
 
Walking is hard and she starts counting her steps for no particular reason and also feels the need to do this--
 
"One two three four five six seven eight nine ten."

--and I guess this is helpful if you don't know how counting works, which is likely what Cheryl assumes because she's so much smarter than all of us.  She sweats some more and says she's still three miles away from the water tank.  Since that's no big whoop, she drinks more of her water but leaves herself two whole ounces until she has the water tank in sight, and once she sees it off in the distance, she slams the rest of her water.  Then,

"As I approached, I saw that the wooden post near the tank was covered with something that flapped in the wind.  It looked like several shredded ribbons at first and then a ripped cloth.  It wasn't until I got up close that I saw they were tiny scraps of paper-- notes stuck with duct tape and now fluttering in the wind."

Guess what all the notes say.  "NO WATER."  Guess how Cheryl deals with this information.

"Nowaternowaternowaternowaternowaternowater." 

She throws an honest-to-god tantrum at this point--

"I kicked the dirt and grabbed fistfuls of sage and threw them,"

--and oh my god, I can't believe that she was totally unprepared for something, this is so shocking.  She calls herself an idiot and HOORAY!  SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON!  She whips out her guidebook to find out where the next water source might be and discovers that there's a potential reservoir about five miles away.  I will spare you all of Cheryl's super dramatic thought-bubbles on her way to the reservoir-- you're welcome-- and she finally gets her dumb ass there.

Because she sucks at lying and also can't remember what she's already written, she says,

"I'd hiked my first twenty-mile day."

Well, that's crazy because I seem to remember her telling Jimmy Carter just 15 pages earlier,

"I hike fifteen to twenty miles a day, day after day, up and down mountains, far away from roads or people or anything..."

Hey, would you look at that.  Cheryl is lying again and doing a piss-poor job of it.

Anyway, she gets to the reservoir and it's essentially just a large puddle of disgusting muck, but Cheryl gets out the water purifier to do her amazing Cheryl thing, even though the water is "so dense with sludge" that it nearly jams her filter.  In a rare instance of doing the intelligent thing, Cheryl pops some iodine pills into the filtered water as an extra precaution and I can't believe these words are about to come out of my mouth:  Good thinking, Cheryl.

Look, Cheryl!  I just complimented you!  SAVOR IT.  IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN.
 
 

The iodine pills take thirty minutes to work, and it is the longest thirty minutes of my life because it is also the longest thirty minutes of Cheryl's life.  I will spare you, and you're welcome again.

She finally drinks her sludge water, pumps more, drinks more, and so on.  And then, of course,

"I'll never be so careless again, I promised the moon before falling asleep."

Except she's immediately careless-- take that, stupid moon!-- because setting up her tent, "a task that required little more than two minutes' effort," was too much trouble for her and she falls asleep right there out in the open next to this big puddle of sludge.  She wakes up two hours later covered in frogs and I didn't even know where to start my Google search on the validity of this claim.  "Will frogs swarm you while you sleep" produced nothing; "covered in frogs" didn't help, either, but now I know there's a song called "Covered In Frogs" and it is almost as awful as this book.  Since I really don't care that much about this particular detail, let's just believe that Cheryl woke up covered in frogs, sure, why not.

"Within an instant, I was among them, hopping, leaping, and hurling myself, my pack, my tarp, and everything that sat on it into the brush beyond the beach, swatting frogs from my hair and the folds of my t-shirt as I went.  I couldn't help but squish a few beneath my bare feet."

And there you go.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Part Twenty-Four of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," The Rest of Chapter Eleven: Are You Fucking Kidding Me

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

Part Twenty-Four:  The Rest of Chapter Eleven: Are You Fucking Kidding Me


We still had three pages to go in Chapter Eleven when I decided I couldn't go on, so let's get this over with.

Cheryl somehow manages not to unhinge her vagina and swallow Spider whole right there in the backseat and finally gets out of the car.  Immediately upon doing so, she finds Stacy, Trina and Odin because isn't that convenient.  They all hitch a ride together to Old Station since that's what hikers do, and while they're hanging out in the café, Cheryl tells us all about the section of the trail she's supposedly about to hike.

"It was a slice of the Modoc Plateau called Hat Creek Rim-- desolate and famous for its lack of shade and water, a legendary stretch on the trail of legends."
Then,
"The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California informed me that although there was no reliable water source from Old Station to Rock Springs Creek thirty miles away, when the book went to print in 1989, the Forest Service was about to install a water tank near the ruins of an old fire lookout tower, fifteen miles in.  The book cautioned that this information should be verified and that even if it was installed, such tanks can't always be relied upon because of vandalism in the form of bullet holes."

Well, that certainly sounds like some valuable information that should be taken into very serious consideration, as hiking without enough water in a stretch of the trail "desolate and famous for its lack of shade and water" could be an incredibly real life-or-death situation.  What do you think Cheryl did?  GO AHEAD, YOU'LL NEVER GUESS.

"I sucked on the ice in my tumbler of soda one cube at a time, pondering this information.  I'd ditched my dromedary bag back in Kennedy Meadows, since most sections of the trail north of there had adequate water." [emphasis mine]

 
 
WHAT.
 
THE.
 
FUCK.
 
 

Remember back in Chapter Four when Cheryl said this about The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California:
 
"It was my bible.  My lifeline."
=It was that thing I never read.
 

WAY TO PAY ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION TO YOUR BIBLE AND LIFELINE, YOU STUPID, FUCKING DUMBASS.

So, yeah.  That happened.  Cheryl ditched her dromedary bag back in Kennedy Meadows because she didn't think she'd need it anymore, sort of like when she ditched her ice ax because surely there wouldn't be more snow and this hiking thing is a snap!


Perfect casting.
 
 

 
Don't worry, Cheryl has a plan to "buy a large jug of water and strap it to Monster," but she's super bummed about this because she wanted to spend her "last bits of money on food at the café" instead of some kinda super important water-- and what is it with Cheryl and her insane need to have everything in increments of "bits?"  She buys heroin in bits, she spends her money in bits... WTF?  Oh, fuck it, whatever, like anyone can explain what goes on inside that woman's head.
 
Anyway.   She almost falls "out of [her] chair with joy and relief" when Trina tells her that apparently southbound hikers had written in the trail register that the tank mentioned in the guidebook was there and had water in it.
 
They camp for the night and-- shocking-- Cheryl says that while Stacy and Trina will be hiking out the next day, she's going to just hang out for a day because she wants to hike alone.  Of course.
 
She wakes up the next morning and everyone is gone.  She goes Full Cheryl again while talking about the copy of Michener's The Novel and blah, blah blah, this happens:
 
"Of all the things I'd done in my life, of all the versions of myself I'd live out, there was one that had never changed: I was a writer."
Anyone capable of writing a sentence is "a writer," congratulations.  You're a terrible writer.
 
 
Cheryl then mentally reprimands herself for not having already written a novel and decides right then and there to fix that.
 
"I had nothing but a long hot day ahead of me anyway, so I sat at my picnic table and wrote until late afternoon."
NOW she starts writing.
 
She sees a chipmunk chewing a hole in her tent and somehow doesn't shout, "CHIPMUNK!" and then she goes back to the café to blow the rest of her money on a burger, "not caring that I'd be spending almost all of my money."  Yeah!  Fuck water!  You eat that burger!
 
She says this:
 
"My next resupply box was at the state park in Burney Falls, forty-two miles away,"

and fuck me, it's fact-checking time again.

The last time she was (supposedly) hiking was 20 pages ago when she descended into Belden Town.  At that point, she said that her next resupply box was "134 miles away."  Since she has not hiked a single step since Belden Town, she admittedly just skipped 92 FUCKING MILES OF THE TRAIL, and I'm sure she's going to claim to have hiked every single one of those miles in her final mileage tally because she is a lying sack of vaginal discharge.  Yeah, I just said that.

She leaves the café with "nothing more than some change" in her pocket, passes a pay phone, returns to it and makes a collect call to her ex-husband.  For reasons I can't understand, he accepts the charges and then they supposedly talk for "close to an hour," and how fucking stupid is this man.

This happens:

"When I hung up, I looked down at my food bag on the ground.  It was almost empty, robin's-egg blue and tubular, made of a treated material that felt like rubber.  I lifted it up, pressed it against my body, and closed my eyes."
This woman will make out with anything.
 
 
 
She walks back to camp and was "too staggered with emotion to read," and staggered?  Really?
 
She decides to smoke the cigarette from the hobo-care-package from Jimmy Carter and no she doesn't because people who don't smoke... don't smoke.  This happens:
 
"I took a drag and blew the smoke from my mouth, remembering how I'd felt more alone than anyone in the whole wide world that morning after Jimmy Carter drove away.  Maybe I was more alone than anyone in the whole wide world.
"Maybe that was okay."

Stop it with your "anyone in the whole wide world" pap.  What are you, 14? 

And that's how Chapter Eleven ends.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Part Twenty-Three of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Eleven, Part Two: The Dialogue Goes Full Cheryl

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

Part Twenty-Three:  Chapter Eleven, Part Two: The Dialogue Goes Full Cheryl


We left off with Cheryl "Too-Oppressed-To-Be-A-Hobo" Strayed standing by the side of the road after having been refused a ride from that reporter from The Hobo Times who never existed.  Apparently Cheryl is feeling sorry for herself because,

"I stood there for a while, letting cars pass without even trying to get them to give me a ride.  I felt more alone than anyone in the whole wide world."
Anyone in the whole wide world?  You are too self-absorbed to continue living.  Please die.
 
 
 
She wonders where Stacy and Trina are even though she should know that they're, you know, in a car right now getting a ride because that just happened.  She then forgets what she wrote four pages earlier due to being a complete fucking idiot and says, "The man who'd picked them up was only going to take them about twelve miles east," and, ummmmmm, it wasn't "a man" who picked them up.  Wait, let's remember together:
 
"...when a couple in a Honda Civic had stopped, announcing that they only had room for two of us."
You couldn't even bullshit-check your own bullshit. 
 
 
Are you for real, Cheryl?  You can't remember what you wrote four pages ago?  Whatever, sure.  I'm over it.  All I can do is roll my eyes at this point because I exhausted my capacity for exasperation while writing the last part of this review.  She says that she's going to meet up with Stacy, Trina and the dog at Old Station, and pffffft.
 
She finally pauses her pity-party long enough to stick her thumb out and after a car approaches and keeps going, she concludes that the reason this one whole car didn't stop for her is because she's holding a can of beer (something Jimmy had given her in addition to the Hobo-Care-Package), and of course that must be the reason, because why else would someone not stop for The Great Cheryl Strayed.  She can justify anything in order to protect her giant ego.
 
Even though she's been holding a beer in her goddamned hand for however long, BEER! occurs to her for the first time ever and she "suddenly had the urge to drink it," and I take it back, my capacity for exasperation is apparently limitless, and I really should start recording a video of myself trying to write this so you can see exactly how much time I spend rolling my eyes, slamming my face into my hands and moaning non-words through my fingers in a pathetic display of agony.
 
The beer was a Budweiser, and here we go:
 
"In fact, that Budweiser was the first whole beer I'd ever drunk in my life-- but it tasted good to me, like beer tastes, I imagine, to those who love it: cold and sharp and crisp and right."
Budweiser tastes like piss.
 
She drinks this beer while she explores the contents of the Hobo Care Package that she was in no way entitled to (but took anyway because she's Cheryl and she's entitled to everything):
 
"...a pack of peppermint gum, three individually wrapped wet wipes, a paper packet containing two aspirin, six butterscotch candies in translucent gold wrappers, a book of matches that said Thank You Steinbeck Drug, a Slim Jim sausage in its plastic vacuum world, a single cigarette in a cylindrical faux-glass case, a disposable razor, and a short, fat can of baked beans." 
 
Cheryl immediately devours everything edible and leaves the can of baked beans for last:
 
"I pried it open in tiny increments with the impossible can-opening device of my Swiss army knife, and then, too lazy to rummage through my pack for a spoon, I scooped them out with the knife itself and ate them-- hobo style-- from the blade."
"I HATE YOU."  -- Jaime
 
I hate her, too, Jaime.  We all do.
 
Cheryl returns to the road, "feeling slightly hazy from the beer," and please stop.  One can of Budweiser isn't going to make you... oh, fuck it.  I just can't.  But don't worry, she's chewing two pieces of the peppermint gum "to sober up," and that's not how sobering up works, but all I can do here is throw my hands up in surrender and hope that one day, Cheryl gets drunk somewhere, attempts to drive home, gets pulled over and tries to explain, "But Officer, I'm chewing gum.  That means I'm fine."
 
After a few minutes of waiting on the side of the road, Cheryl "Automotive-Expert" Strayed tells us that an old white Maverick pulls over and-- brace yourself, this is about to go Full Cheryl in about 2.5 seconds.

Oh, god. 

Whatever, let's do this.
 
"A woman sat in the driver's seat with a man beside her and another man and a dog in the back seat."

Apparently they're all white because Cheryl doesn't point out any of the non-whiteness going on.

They're heading the same way Cheryl wants to go, so she accepts the ride.  She feels the need to point out what an unattractive, poorly-dressed lady the driver is:

"She looked to be about forty.  Her hair was frizzy and bleached blonde, her face puffy and pocked with old acne scars.  She wore cutoffs and gold earrings in the shape of butterflies and a grayish halter top that seemed to have been made with the strings of a mop."
Cheryl always needs to be the most beautiful person present.
 
 
You know what, you stupid bitch?  This lady stopped for your dumb ass, and the first thing you do is essentially call her ugly and then criticize her clothes.  I HAVE NO WORDS.  ALL I CAN DO IS VIOLENTLY SHAKE MY HEAD AND CONVULSE IN MY CHAIR.  You selfish, selfish, asshole.  I hope you get one of those flesh-eating parasites and die a slow, agonizing death.
 
Ugly Lady helps Cheryl get her pack into the trunk and makes a big deal out of how heavy it is because Cheryl needs to remind us of this in case we've forgotten.  She climbs into the back seat of the car with the dog and "the man," and then we have to deal with this:
 
"The man was lean and about the same age as the woman, his dark hair woven into a thin braid.  He wore a black leather vest without a shirt underneath and a red bandana tied biker-style over the top of his head."

Uh-oh, Cheryl has heard of bikers before and she's gonna make the dialogue go the way she thinks bikers talk, never mind that NO ONE IS A BIKER AND EVERYONE IS CLEARLY RIDING IN A CAR.

Cheryl struggles to find a seatbelt, takes a super-judgmental inventory of "the man's" tattoos and when she gives up trying to locate her seatbelt, the dog comes over and licks her knee.

"'That dog's got some motherfucking good taste in women,' said the man."

The man tells her that the dog's name is Stevie Ray, his name is Spider, the ugly woman's name is Louise-- but goes by Lou-- and the man in the front seat is Spider's brother, Dave.

Spider asks if Cheryl has a name and Cheryl is feeling apprehensive.  She introduces herself:

"'Oh yeah-- sorry.  I'm Cheryl.'  I smiled, though I felt a blurry uncertainty about having accepted this particular ride.  There was nothing to do about it now.  We were already on our way, the hot wind blowing my hair.  I petted Stevie Ray while assessing Spider in my peripheral vision.  'Thanks for picking me up,' I said to conceal my unease."
 
Oh, get over it.  You're about 0.5 seconds away from banging Spider, just stop.
 
Spider repeatedly says one version or another of the word "motherfucker" in ways that make no sense whatsoever because apparently that's how bikers talk, and he finally asks what Cheryl was doing out there on the road.  Cheryl explains "about the trail and the record snowpack" and blah, blah, blah, and then Spider decides to tell this story and no he doesn't, but sure he does because he doesn't really exist.
 
"'I've got a story for you, Cheryl.  I think it's along the lines of what you're talking about.  I was reading about animals a while back and there was this motherfucking scientist in France back in the thirties or forties or whenever the motherfuck it was and he was trying to get apes to draw these pictures, to make art pictures like the kinds of pictures in serious motherfucking paintings that you see in museums and shit.  So the scientist keeps showing the apes these paintings and giving them charcoal pencils to draw with and then one day one of the apes finally draws something but it's not the art pictures that it draws.  What it draws is the bars of its own motherfucking cage.  Its own motherfucking cage!  Man, that's the truth, ain't it?  I can relate to that and I bet you can too, sister."

Maybe I'm a big asshole for saying this, but I doubt a man named "Spider" who uses "motherfucking" as an adjective as liberally as he does is secretly a big scientific research fanatic who would recount this fascinating tale, never mind that none of what he has just said has anything to do with what Cheryl just told them all about hiking the PCT.  This story sounds like something Cheryl half-way paid attention to in one of her college classes and wanted to bring it up really badly to illustrate her own feeling of being imprisoned in life but didn't quite know how to go about doing it, so she made imaginary Spider say it.  Crazy, I know.  How dare I.

Bllllaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgh, Lou tells Cheryl that she and Dave are going to get married in a week and that's when this happens:

"'You wanna marry me, sweetheart?' Spider asked me, momentarily grazing my bare thigh with the back of his hand, his turquoise ring hard against me."

Cheryl responds the way you'd think:

"The place on my leg where Spider had touched me seemed to pulse.  I wished he'd do it again, though I knew that was ludicrous."

My head is smothered in my hands at this point and I am tearlessly sobbing and wishing this would stop.

Lou tells Cheryl a very sad story about how her eight-year-old son had died when he was hit by a truck, and of course Spider chimes in to say, "He was a tough little motherfucker," because that's touching.  Since Cheryl can't have the attention away from herself for more than a paragraph, Lou tells Cheryl that's she so pretty, and then sadly says that all she has going for herself is that she's good-hearted, and that's when big asshole Cheryl almost transforms into a decent human being-- ALMOST:

"'That's not true,' I said.  'I think you're pretty.'
"'You do?' she asked.
"'Yeah,' I said, though pretty wasn't precisely how I would have described her." 
YOU ARE SUCH AN ASSHOLE. 
 
 
I can't even finish this chapter today, and there are only three pages left.  Yeah.  I'm done.
 
 


Friday, December 26, 2014

Part Twenty-Two of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Eleven, Part One: Cheryl Has a Problem With Hobos

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

Part Twenty-Two: Chapter Eleven, Part One: Cheryl Has a Problem With Hobos


We're now in Part Four of this awful book, and Part Four is called "Wild" because Cheryl apparently ran out of super-smart book titles to steal.  Chapter Eleven is Called "The Lou Out of Lou," and we'll get to that nonsense soon enough, but probably not until Part Twenty-Three because all the preceding bullshit is going to take some time.

Let's get started.

Chapter Eleven starts out with,

"I was standing by the side of the highway just outside the town of Chester, trying to hitch a ride..."

because of course it does, seeing as Cheryl is hitchhiking the entire PCT.  But hey, "hitchhiking" does have the word "hiking" in it, so I guess this is supposed to count.  In the very next sentence, Cheryl says something that we all know is complete bullshit at this point:

"Over the past fifty-some hours, I'd hiked fifty miles with Stacy and Trina and the dog..."
UM, NO YOU DIDN'T.
 
Once again, the math just doesn't add up. First of all, how many hours exactly is "fifty-some?"  Here's Cheryl yet again being very vague about the details because liars are clever like that, so we'll just have to do our best to make some estimates on her behalf.  Let's say "fifty-some" is fifty-five, just to take the average and be fair.  Fifty-five hours equals two days and seven hours.  The longest distance Cheryl claims to have covered in one day at this point was fifteen miles.  Let's be generous and give Cheryl three whole days to cover fifty miles.  At fifteen miles a day, that's still only 45 miles, not fifty, and let's face it, she was not hiking fifteen miles a day to begin with.  She sucks so badly at lying about the details, and I can't even be surprised anymore that so many people just blindly believe all of her bullshit because "omg, she's so brave and such an inspiration and when I have to go all the way across the street to go to the store, I drive there because walking is hard!
 
'MERICA! 
 
Anyway, sure, whatever, Cheryl just walked fifty miles and no she didn't, but now she's at a place called Stover Camp.  Cheryl, Stacy, Trina and the dog, Odin, are all trying to hitch a ride, and when a couple in a Honda Civic finally stop with room for only two passengers, the three of them play the YOU-hang-up-first! game:
 
"'You go,' we'd each said to the other; 'no, you go'-- until I insisted and Stacy and Trina got in, Odin lumbering behind them to sit wherever he could, while I assured them I'd be fine."

They somehow manage to not have a full blown tickle fight right there on the side of the road and the two ladies and the dog finally leave Cheryl in the dust, which I don't believe because Cheryl is a selfish cunt who is seemingly incapable of doing a single selfless thing, but then again, she always finds a way to not spend much time with actual hikers because these hikers don't exist and she can't have anyone coming forward to expose her lies.  So let's just go with this version of the story because things are about to get stupid, and after that, things will get Full-Cheryl-Double-O-Stoopid.

A man in a Chrysler LeBaron stops at the side of the road and I wonder 1) how she remembers the makes and models of these cars and 2) why it should matter, unless she's trying to make up for her almost complete lack of description of the trail and is attempting to make things sound more official, like, hey, she totally knew what kinds of cars she was hitchhiking in.  Anyway, Mr. Chrysler LeBaron "looked like a nice enough guy," and he had a bumper sticker on his car that said, 'IMAGINE WHIRLED PEAS," so of course, Cheryl says to herself,

"Has there ever been a serial killer who imagined whirled peas?"
Let's hope this is the one. 

She mentions once again her possession of "the world's loudest whistle" and how she was holding onto it, just in case.  You know what, you stupid asshole?  The world's loudest anything isn't going to stop a man from raping or murdering you when you're out in the middle of nowhere.

A man named Jimmy Carter-- "no relation"-- introduces himself and tells Cheryl that he doesn't have room in his car to give her a ride, but explains that he stopped because he is a reporter from something called "The Hobo Times" and wants to interview her.  Before we get to this bullshit, let's stop for some more fact-checking.

The Hobo Times has no record of Cheryl Strayed.  I checked.  And after having found nothing from The Hobo Times, the only thing I could find when I googled "Cheryl Strayed Hobo Times" was this stinking pile of shit from an online "interview" where Cheryl answered a multitude of questions from her clueless fans (and I'm just quoting here-- don't blame me for the lack of grammatical know-how coming from her fan):

Clueless Fan:  "Cheryl: that guy — whose hair whipped to and fro on his face determined that you were a “hobo” to be written on — did he ever publish any of that? Did you search for it after your trek?"
Cheryl Strayed:  " I searched for the reporter from the Hobo Times, but didn’t find him. I plan to search again soon. I don’t know if he ever wrote that article about me. Not that I was a hobo."

THAT IS JUST SO SHOCKING THAT THERE IS NO RECORD OF WHAT SHE'S ABOUT TO CLAIM, I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

Yeah.  Let's get back to her baseless, unprovable story.

Mr. Jimmy Carter assumes that Cheryl is a hobo and unless this is his first time driving along a road near the PCT, he should know better.  I don't believe a single word of any of the following, but since it's in the book, I'm going to cover it.  Just know ahead of time that this is all absolute crap.

Upon hearing Jimmy's reason for stopping to talk to her, Cheryl says,

"'I'm not a hobo.  I'm a long-distance hiker.  I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail."
OH, REALLY?  THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING HITCHHIKING RIGHT NOW, YOU LYING SACK OF CRAP.
 
Cheryl, upon the sudden realization that Jimmy isn't going to give her a ride, decides to act like a pissy bitch for the rest of their exchange, and even mentions how Jimmy's presence was preventing her from hitching a ride.  Oh, boo-hoo.
 
Jimmy asks her how long she's been out on the road and Cheryl takes a moment to be a judgmental bitch before answering, saying that Jimmy struck her as,
 
"someone who had a PhD in something airy and indescribable.  The history of consciousness, perhaps, or comparative studies in discourse and society."
WHATEVER, MISS "I-FAILED-COLLEGE-OVER-A-FIVE-PAGE-PAPER." 
 
 
but she finally answers his question:
 
"'I told you, I'm not on the road,' I said, and laughed.  'I'm hiking the Pacific Crest Trail,' I repeated, gesturing by way of elaboration to the woods that edged up near the road, though in fact the PCT was about nine miles west of where we stood."
I-- you-- LEARN HOW TO LIE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. 
 
Cheryl claims that "he stared at me blankly, uncomprehending," probably because she's clearly not hiking anything at this point right there on the side of the road.  Since Jimmy doesn't seem to comprehend the words that are coming out her mouth, she explains further, "It's a National Scenic Trail," but he still doesn't get it and apparently just stands there with his mouth hanging open or something, and it's at this point when Cheryl says this:
 
"I saw that Jimmy Carter wasn't bad-looking.  I wondered if he had any food in his car."
Wha--baaa---gaaahhh---errrrrrrr, what?
 
 
Jimmy decides that Cheryl is a hobo and Cheryl is super pissed about this, but instead of quoting their long, dreadful exchange, allow me to spare you and just paraphrase:
 
Cheryl:  I'M NOT A HOBO.
Jimmy: Yes-huh.
Cheryl: I AM NOT!
Jimmy: Yeah, okay, but... you are. 
Cheryl:  Quit calling me a hobo!  I'm a super-smart, totally experienced hiker!  Quit it!
Jimmy:  HOBO. 

This type of nonsense goes on for well over a page and while paraphrasing is amusing, let's put an end to my fun so I can go back to quoting the book itself because you're not going to believe what comes out of Cheryl's mouth:

"'I'm not a hiker in the way you might think of a hiker,' I explained.  'I'm more like an expert hiker.'"
YEAH.  THAT HAPPENED. NOT MAKING THAT UP.
 
 

She continues,
 
"I hike fifteen to twenty miles a day, day after day, up and down mountains, far away from roads or people or anything, often going days without seeing another person."

AND OH MY FUCKING GOD, NO YOU FUCKING DON'T.  EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAID IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT AND I WANT TO THROTTLE YOU.

Jimmy doesn't seem to be paying attention to all of Cheryl's lies because he scribbles in his notebook and,

"'I hardly ever meet hobo women,' he half whispered, as if confiding a secret, 'so this is fucking cool.'"

Cheryl flips her shit.

"'I'm not a hobo!' I insisted more vehemently this time."

Jimmy says that "hobo women are hard to find," and Cheryl enlightens him:

"I told him that this was because women were too oppressed to be hobos.  That most likely all the women who wanted to be hobos were holed up in some house with a gaggle of children to raise.  Children who'd been fathered by hobo men who'd hit the road."
What the fuck was all that.  I don't even.
 
And then this doesn't happen, except Cheryl says it does:
 
"'Oh, I see,' he said.  'You're a feminist, then.'
"'Yes,' I said.  It felt good to agree on something."

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDI----

YOU ARE NOT A FEMINSIT.
 
 
 
ERRRRRRRMAHGERRRRRRRD, IT'S TIMES LIKE THIS WHEN I WANT TO JUST STOP.  I JUST WANT TO THROW THIS BOOK INTO MY FIREPLACE, TAKE A HAMMER TO MY OWN SKULL AND FORGET THAT I EVER STARTED THIS.  SOMEONE KILL ME RIGHT NOW.
 
 
*whimper*
 
 
Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Jimmy wants to get a picture of Cheryl, compliments her spirit-walking Bob Marley t-shirt and also her POW bracelet, and points out that a lot of hobos are "Nam vets," and I'm seriously surprised that Cheryl didn't suddenly claim to have been in Nam because she clearly has a very slippery grasp on the truth.
 
Jimmy then mentions that articles from The Hobo Times have been excerpted in Harper's and Cheryl just about shits herself.  I can't even go on with this stupid conversation anymore, but know that Cheryl acts like a total bitch, which should not be surprising at this point.
 
Before leaving, Jimmy gives her a "standard-issue hobo care package," which Cheryl immediately takes even though she's spent the last fifteen minutes rudely telling this man that she is not a hobo.  He wishes her well, tells her to stay safe, and says that he hopes she has a gun on her because she's soon going to be "entering Bigfoot country," and oh my god, I can't do this anymore.  I feel like calling 911 right now and when the operator says, "What is your emergency?' I will scream, "I'VE BEEN WRITING A REVIEW OF CHERYL STRAYED'S AWFUL BOOK FOR A FULL MONTH NOW AND I STILL HAVE EIGHT CHAPTERS TO GO, PLEASE SEND SOMEONE TO KILL ME."
 
"'Good luck on your hike,' [Jimmy] said, getting back into his car."
"'Good luck... finding hobos,' I said, and waved as he drove away."

I will try not to kill myself tonight so that we can continue with the rest of Chapter Eleven tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Part Twenty-One of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Ten, Part Three: Oh, Look, Other Women Hiking the PCT, You Stupid Asshole

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

Part Twenty-One: Chapter Ten, Part Three: Oh, Look, Other Women Hiking the PCT, You Stupid Asshole


The rest of this chapter-- from a literary standpoint-- is a complete waste of time, but from a factual standpoint, it's very revealing.


Cheryl wakes up, puts on her super sacred, spirit-walking Bob Marley t-shirt, starts hiking to Belden Town and barfs out a crap-ton of geographical information that she knows exactly dick about but was capable of copying-and-pasting into her stupid book to make herself sound knowledgeable and I'm getting really tired of this.

"Down, down, down the trail went on my last full day of hiking in the Sierra Nevada."
You haven't hiked the Sierra Nevada at all, GFY.
 
Cheryl has absolutely nothing to say about the trail between Three Lakes and Belden Town because she probably hitched a ride, but she's suddenly at Belden Town and all she can talk about is how her feet hurt because she doesn't understand how boots work.  "The tips of [her] toes were blistered" because her boots are too fucking small (which Greg had told her back in Sierra City and she paid no attention), and omg, everybody, let's immediately feel sorry for her because no, let's not.
 
She retrieves her stupid resupply box with the twenty dollars inside and immediately buys "two bottles of Snapple lemonade" because of course she does.  She goes to the porch of the store to slam them and then,
 
"'Cool shirt,' a woman said.  She had short curly gray hair and a big white dog on a leash."

Blah, blah, blah, and then the woman asks-- seriously--?

"'Are you, by chance, hiking the PCT?'"
No, she's only pretending.
 
As these two assholes are talking, another woman shows up and holy fuck, three female PCT hikers are all together at once!  Then Cheryl writes this and I don't even understand what this is supposed to mean:
 
"At last I'd met some women on the trail!  I was dumbfounded with relief as we exchanged in a flurry the quick details of our lives."
The fuck? 

What?  That makes no sense at all, but that's probably because I know the definition of "dumbfounded."  Sooooo, you were astonished with relief?  That doesn't-- you're an idiot.

Blah, blah, blah, meet Trina and Stacy, two women who are hiking the PCT.  They all go camp together and Cheryl has another one of her meltdowns as she's going through the contents of her resupply box and I'm not even going to bother quoting all of it because it goes exactly how you think, but I should point out that there's another goddamned book in the box:

"...a copy of Margaret Drabble's A Summer Bird Cage, which I wasn't quite ready for yet--"

and please stop.  No one cares.  I already know you're a fucktard and no book is going to convince me otherwise.

As Cheryl is tending to her stupid feet, a man arrives and Sherlock Strayed says,

"I knew in an instant that he was a PCT hiker by the drag of his gait."

OR MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE HE'S ON THE FUCKING PCT AND HE HAS A BIG PACK AND LOOKS DIRTY AND TIRED AND I HATE YOU SO MUCH.

This guy's name is Brent and Cheryl greets him "like an old friend" because she's a totally legit PCT hiker now except she's not, and then she makes a big production about her busted-up feet, so Brent takes a look.

"'You boots are too small,' he said, echoing what Greg had told me back in Sierra City.  I stared at him vacantly.  My boots couldn't be too small."
Your brain is too small.
 
As we've already concluded, Cheryl doesn't understand how boots work and explains that she royally fucked up her feet on the descent into Belden Town and omg how could that happen because she was going downhill, and Brent has to explain how boots work.
 
"'But that's the point,' Brent replied.  'With the right size boots, you'd be able to descend without hashing up your feet.  That's what boots are for, so you can descend.'"
"DUH"-- written in large, angry letters in the margin 
 
 
She then has another REI flashback because of course she does and explains how the REI employee made her "walk up and down a small wooden ramp in the store for this very reason," and knowing what we know of Cheryl, this 1) probably never even happened in the first place because she is completely full of shit or 2) she walked down the ramp exactly one time and was all, "Yep, these are profoundly comfortable."
 
She calls her friend Lisa, blah, blah, blah, and signs her name on the trail register (big shout-out to reader Tori, an actual PCT hiker, who told me that Cheryl, back in 1995, only signed the trail registers that were easily accessible by car and neglected to sign any of the trail registers between the points that are car-accessible-- you know, the ones ON THE TRAIL ITSELF-- which further proves what a lying sack of crap Cheryl is).  Cheryl notices that Greg hasn't signed the register and then has a conversation with Brent that makes no sense to me whatsoever.
 
She asks Brent if he knows anything about Greg, and Brent tells her that Greg had decided to quit.  My question at this point is:  If Greg had been ahead of Cheryl, and Brent behind Cheryl, how the fuck would Brent know anything about Greg's plans?  Cheryl attempts to cover this by saying that "The Australians" had told Brent that Greg had quit, and this still makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  If Greg had been ahead of both Brent and The Australians, how the fuck would they know anything about his plans?  HOW.
 
Apparently, The Australians had decided to quit the PCT and go hike the AT instead (that's the Appalachian Trail for those of you not in the know), and before Cheryl copies-and-pastes everything she can find about the AT, she takes just enough time to make Brent say,
 
"'That's a seriously awesome shirt, by the way.'"
DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE.
 
Cheryl "Expert-at-Everything-Hiking-Related" Strayed then tells us all about the AT, and the only telling part of all of this is how she explains that the AT has much higher traffic than the PCT-- which is why she likely pretended to hike the PCT instead of the AT, even though the AT was much closer and would have been easier for her to reach.  She could not have gotten away with her pretend hike on the AT because there would have been too many hikers to come forward to say that they never saw her on the trail.  That said, to this day, there is still not a single hiker, Trail Angel or person who gave her a ride to come forward to confirm her story.  Seeing as she's super famous now, I find this very unbelievable.  People love to ride coat-tails, and NO ONE has come forward to confirm her bullshit story.  Not a single person.  You go make of that what you want.
 
Anyway, blah, blah, blah, facts about the AT that Cheryl had to Google, and then she comes to the part about trail names.  PCT hikers enjoy giving nicknames to the other hikers on the trail, which is good fun and I love it.  Cheryl then makes all of this shit up:
 
"Half the time that Greg, Matt, and Albert had talked about Brent they'd referred to him as the Kid, thought he was only a few years younger than me.  Greg had been occasionally called the Statistician because he knew so many facts and figures about trail and he worked as an accountant.  Matt and Albert were the Eagle Scouts, and Doug and Tom the Preppies.  I didn't think I'd been dubbed anything, but I got the stinking feeling that if I had, I didn't want to know what it was."
She eventually gets a trail name.  She gives it to herself.
 
 
Trina, Stacy, Brent and Cheryl decide to go have dinner at the bar in Belden Town.  Cheryl explains that after having paid for a shower, laundry, "the Snapple, a few snacks and incidentals," she has fourteen dollars to her name, so she orders "a green salad and a plate of fries, the two items on the menu that satisfied [her] deepest cravings, which veered in opposite directions: fresh and deep-fried."  This costs her five dollars, which leaves her nine dollars until she reaches her next resupply box, 134 miles away.  She sits there and pouts--
 
"I drank my ice water miserably while the others sipped their beers."

--and grow up, nobody cares.  They're all discussing the "socked in" trail that lay ahead of them and that's when super-cute-bartender overhears and offers Cheryl some wine on the house because of course he does.  Cheryl is just that beautiful.

Cheryl goes back to camp and writes a letter to heroin-addict-Joe because "his birthday was approaching and the wine had made me nostalgic for him."  She describes "having sex with him against a stone wall in a private cove of a public park," as if we care, and then,

"I remembered the giddy surge of emotion I'd felt every time we scored another bit of heroin..."

and just shut the fuck up.  Blah, blah, blah, I won't bore you with the rest of it, and she goes off to mail her stupid letter.  As she's in front of the mailbox, this happens:

"'Hey, good-looking,' a man's voice called to me after I put the letter in the box.  I saw only the burning end of a cigarette on the dark porch."

It's the bartender who gave her the free wine, and I'm really baffled by what happens next because we can only assume at this point that the constant, running loop inside of Cheryl's head looks something like,

 
 
and for reasons I still can't comprehend, she decides to not fuck this human being with a penis who is clearly interested in her.
 
She goes back to camp to have a meaningful conversation with Brent about the beauty of the stars and then suggests that they should make wishes.
 
Brent makes his wish and when Cheryl takes goddamned forever to think of hers, Brent suggests (no he doesn't) that Cheryl should wish for a horse.  I won't even bother with her stupid reply, and thank god, Chapter Ten is over.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Part Twenty of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Ten, Part Two: More Men, More Bullshit, and Way Too Much Information

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

Part Twenty: Chapter Ten, Part Two: More Men, More Bullshit, and Way Too Much Information


Cheryl wakes up "in the woods somewhere outside the Whitehorse Campground" the morning after those two mean old people forced her to leave when she thought she was too fucking special to pay the camping fee.  Boo-fucking-hoo, I feel so bad for her, except the opposite of that.

She studies her guidebook as she eats breakfast and-- I hope you're sitting down, because this will come as a shock to you-- SHE'S GOING TO BYPASS THE TRAIL because there's a remote possibility of snow in the next short stretch of the trail.  "The idea of [snow] spooked me," and are you fucking kidding.  She comes up with a super brilliant plan to walk along "a jeep road" around all the snow to get to Three Lakes and tries to justify this by saying that the "jeep road" and the PCT trail section covered "about the same distance"-- fifteen miles, she says-- so it's not like she's cheating or anything.

 
"I packed up my camp, walked back down the trail I'd come on the night before, and strode defiantly through the Whitehorse Campground."
Take that, mean old people!
 
 
Cheryl spends all morning not hiking the PCT and that's so weird because I thought this book was supposed to be about her epic journey on the PCT, but I guess not.  As she's walking, she can't stop thinking about her next resupply box in Belden Town and how she's gonna immediately blow the $20 in the box on a bunch of stupid shit, especially Snapple lemonade, and she's going to bring up Snapple lemonade about 1000 more times before the book is over because she desperately wants to be a paid spokesperson for as many companies as possible (see: REI).
 
She spends the next half of a page telling us something that 1) we don't need to know, 2) would never want to know and 3) adds absolutely nothing to the book.  I am fighting my dread and disgust so that I can share all of the awesomeness with you.  You're welcome in advance.
 
"Midafternoon, I felt a familiar tug inside me.  I was getting my period."
This is happening.  Brace yourself.
 
She whips out her "natural menstrual sponge" and,
 
"I attempted to wash my hands with water from my bottle, dousing the sponge as I did so, and squeezed it out, pulled down my shorts, squatted on the road, and pushed the sponge into my vagina as far as I could, wedging it against my cervix."
For the men who are reading this: This is not how it works, and I am so sorry you had to read that.
 
 
As soon as she's done with this awful business, she hears a truck approaching and is super grateful that she had already finished stuffing that dirty sponge up her cooch because omg, men.
 
"'Howdy,' a man said, and reached through his open window.  I took his hand and shook it, conscious of where mine had just been."
REAL NICE, VAGINA-HANDS.
 
Big racist Cheryl feels the need to tell us that the man was white (and "handsome and clean-cut"), as was the man sitting beside him, as were the two boys in the back seat, and uh-uh, there was also a non-white person in the vehicle, so let's be sure to point this out.
 
"The other man was Latino and long-haired, a hard round belly rising before him."
WHO.  FUCKING.  CARES.
 
They're all heading to Three Lakes-- the place 15 miles away from Whitehorse, where Cheryl is heading-- but their truck is too packed for them to give her a ride, and that's when Cheryl says, "That's okay.  I like to walk," even though she clearly would rather hitch a ride and then claim to have hiked the distance because she assumes that anyone reading this piece of shit is an idiot who won't notice (and she's mostly right-- have you read the 5-star reviews on Amazon?).  The men tell her to meet up with them when she arrives because they'll be having "Hawaiian screwdrivers" and Cheryl doesn't know what the fuck those are but concludes, "they didn't sound all that different from Snapple lemonade," because she is a tool.
 
She arrives at Three Lakes and we can only assume that she somehow miracled her dumb ass there because there's no way she just walked fifteen miles in one day, but whatever, there she is and we're not supposed to question this.  She again needs everyone to be constantly aware of her vagina because,
 
"I set up my tent and ducked into the woods to squeeze out my sponge and put it in again,"

and I so don't want this mental picture, but thanks so much, Cheryl.  Enjoy your yeast infection.

Cheryl doesn't understand how bathing works, splashes some water on her face and *boom* all clean.  And here we go about her goddamned toenails:

"When I rubbed them, another blackened toenail came off in my hand,"

and no, that's not quite how that works, but okay, Cheryl, whatever you say.  You're so hardcore.

She goes to meet up with the men and boys from the truck and I'm so confused, none of them get to have names except the Latino man, who she decides to call "Paco," I'm assuming because it rhymes with "taco," you know, because he's Latino and she's an asshole.  The nameless white guys at least get to be firefighters.

Yet again, the men are super impressed with what she's doing and I can't believe that people on the PCT are so surprised and impressed with someone (supposedly) hiking the PCT as if the concept had never occurred to them before and Cheryl is the first person in the history of the world to be doing this, but if we're to believe Cheryl, they just couldn't even believe it.

"'You've got to be kidding me!  You've got to be kidding me!" the firefighters took turns exclaiming when I explained to them what I was doing and showed them my battered feet with their eight remaining toenails."
She is kidding you. 
 
They ask her "question after question while marveling and shaking their heads" because of course they did, and then the most racist sentence of the entire book happens:
"'Women are the ones with the cojones,' said Paco as he made a bowl of guacamole."

I mean, jesus. 

Apparently the white men are not interested in her because she never brings them up again, but she has a whole ridiculous interaction with Paco.  He asks if she wants to smoke a joint with him and of course she does, and then Cheryl confuses him with a Native American-- they're the same, right?-- because this supposedly happens:

"'You're on a spirit walk, aren't you?' Paco said, staring into the fire."

Paco gives her a Bob Marley t-shirt and we're supposed to believe these words actually came out of his mouth:

"'That is a sacred shirt,' Paco said as I studied it by the firelight.  'I want you to have it because I can see that you walk with the spirits of the animals, with the spirits of the earth and the sky.'"
That must have been the best fucking weed in the history of weed because otherwise, no.
 
 
Cheryl, admittedly drunk and stoned at this point, stumbles back to her camp and starts asking a series of stupid questions to no one in particular.
 
"Did I walk with the spirits?  Did my mom?  Where had she gone after she died?  Where was Lady?  Had they really ridden together across the river to the other side?"
No, no, nowhere, nowhere and no.
 
 
Thank god, she goes to sleep at this point and we can stop reading for today. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Part Nineteen of a review of ""Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Ten, Part One: Cheryl Kills a Horse.

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

Part Nineteen: Chapter Ten, Part One: Cheryl Kills a Horse.


Cheryl shows up at Packer Lake Lodge and immediately feels sorry for herself because omg there's food for sale at the restaurant and stupid Cheryl only has sixty cents to her name because she is an idiot.  She thinks about quitting again and then waits for people to take pity on her and give her everything she wants because that's how life is supposed to work if you're Cheryl Strayed.

"A menu sat on the counter and I picked it up just to see.  'Do you have anything that costs sixty cents or less?' I asked her in a jesting tone, so quiet my voice barely rose above the din.
"'Seventy-five cents will get you a cup of coffee.  Free refills,' she replied."
HA HA, YOU STUPID ASSHOLE.
 
Cheryl tells the waitress that she has her own food, so there, stomps outside and goes to pout in front of the lodge.  And of course, some dumb lady approaches her to tell her how amazing she is and insists that Cheryl come back to her cabin so she can feed her and let her take a shower and I grow more and more exasperated every single time something like this happens.
 
Cheryl goes with the lady to her cabin, takes a shower, eats all of her food and says thank you exactly zero times.  Then Dumb Lady and her Dumb Husband listen to Cheryl talk about how she loves to read and they do a book exchange because apparently everybody has a whole fucking library with them out in the wilderness.  Cheryl trades in her super intellectual copy of Flannery O'Connor's Complete Stories for some awful book that's totally beneath her called The Novel by James Michener and then we have to suffer through one of her goddamned flashbacks about her mom.  Usually, I'd just sum up the whole flashback with a neat and simple "blah blah blah," but Cheryl says some really stupid shit in this flashback, so let's waste some of our lives by rehashing it together.
 
After her first whole month at college, Cheryl learns that books the general public find entertaining are just pure garbage and then decides to smear this knowledge right in her mother's face because Cheryl is a huge fucking asshole.  Cheryl's mom was reading one of Michener's books and this is how Cheryl reacted to that:
 
"'You know that isn't a real book,' I'd said disdainfully to my mother when someone had given her Michener's Texas as a Christmas gift later that year.
"'Real?' My mother looked at me, quizzical and amused.
"'I mean serious.  Like actual literature worth your time,' I replied."
How no one has bitch-slapped Cheryl to death is beyond me.
 
Oh, if only we could all be as brilliant as Cheryl.  But a few paragraphs later, Cheryl admits that she, too, had loved Michener before she got all super smart and junk.  Then there was the time these words actually came out of her mouth as she was talking to her mother:
 
"'Aren't you amazed to see how much more sophisticated I am at twenty-one than you were?'"
I have no words.
 
She pretends like she now regrets all of this behavior and of course she doesn't because she's Cheryl Strayed. 

Flashback over.
 
HOLY SHIT, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS-- Cheryl then yellow-blazes another 57 miles of the trail by hitching a ride with two clinically brain-dead girls.  When Cheryl explains to them that she has no parents (which is a lie, by the way), they respond as such:
 
"'Wow,' said one of them.
"'Yeah,' said the other.
"'The upside is that I'm free.  I get to do whatever I want.'
"'Yeah,' said the one who'd said wow.
"'Wow,' said the one who'd said yeah."
Yeah, wow, go fuck yourself.  Never mind that you're 26 and you can do whatever you want because you're an adult.
 
As they're driving, Cheryl has another stupid flashback that I will skip this time around because life is only so long and I can't keep wasting mine by addressing all of her bullshit.
 
Anyway, the brain-dead girls drop her off at Whitehorse Campground and since we know that she had just come from Packer Lake Lodge...oh, look:
 
 

Uh-oh!  More fact-checking!
 
Hey, would you look at that.  Bet you a million dollars she still claims to have hiked those 57 miles even though she clearly didn't.  I can't even pretend to be surprised anymore.
 
Cheryl takes a look around the campground:
 
"I looked around at the water spigots, the sets of brown outhouses, and the big sign that explained how one should go about paying for a spot for the night by leaving money in an envelope that should then be deposited through a slot in a wooden box."

Cheryl is way too special to have to pay for anything and decides to just make herself at home without putting the fee in the box.  Awwww, snap, guess what happens.  Two totally mean old people show up, demand that she pay the fee and Cheryl acts like Cheryl.

"'I need to pay?' I said, with false innocence and surprise." 

Yeah, you fucking thief, you need to pay, why do you think the goddamned sign was there.  She tries to whine her way out of paying and I fucking love these old people.  They are having none of it.

"'None of that changes the fact that you have to pay, young lady,' the man bellowed with surprising power, his voice silencing me like a great horn in the fog.
 "'If you can't pay, you've got to pack up and leave,' said the woman."
 LMAO.
 
 
Cheryl can't even believe that she's not going to get her way and still tries to bullshit her way out of paying and again, these two awesome old people are having none of it.  Tough shit, Cheryl, I guess the rules apply to you, so pack up your shit and fuck off.
 
Cheryl is stunned by this, I tell you.  Stunned.
 
"I turned to my tent, stunned.  I'd yet to meet a stranger on my trip who'd been anything but kind."
How soon she forgets Front-Desk Lady.
 
And then, because of course,
 
"I put on Monster and waved to the couple in the truck, unable to see whether they waved back."
Um, probably not.
 
She wanders out into the wilderness and god help us all, it's The Horse Flashback.
 
I should mention now that many of the people who hate this book as much as I do did not make it past Chapter Ten, and we're about to explore why.  It's when Cheryl tortures a horse to death.
 
I imagine that one of the reasons Cheryl took almost two decades to write about this is because what she did is totally illegal and punishable with prison time.  She waited until the statute of limitations ran out and then immediately went about making money off of her terrible crime by writing about it in her Oprah Book Club book.  She is an awful human being and if she died today, I would go to her funeral dressed as a clown and hand out horse-shaped balloon animals to everybody.
 
I also want to mention-- before we get into the dirty business of describing how she tortured an animal to death-- that if you type "Cheryl Strayed killed a horse" into the Google search engine, the very first post that pops up is an article from the Huffington Post entitled, "The One Part of 'Wild' That Still Makes Cheryl Strayed Wince," and *SURPRISE* IT IS NOT ABOUT TORTURING A HORSE TO DEATH, she's totally cool with that.  The part of "Wild" that makes her wince is from the movie adaptation where the screenwriter has her character having sex with two men in an alley.  Straight from the article:
 
“I never did have sex with two guys in an alley,” Strayed said, laughing. Alluding to the film’s need to get a point across quickly, she continued, “They had to be like ‘Okay, she’s a slut!’”

And then,

 "It’s the only moment in the movie that pushes her comfort zone, she said."

SO, YEAH.  CHERYL CAN TORTURE A HORSE TO DEATH AND BE TOTES COOL ABOUT IT, BUT WHEN THEY PORTRAY HER AS A SLUT IN THE MOVIE, SHE WINCES.

I hate her so much.

Oh, god.  Let's get this over with.

Her mom had a horse named Lady, and she loved that horse more than anything (probably more than she loved Cheryl, and for good reason).  After her mom died, Cheryl apparently forgot about Lady's existence because she's a selfish bitch.

"When I went home one day to visit Eddie [her stepfather] in early December nearly three years after my mother died, I was shocked by how thin and weak Lady had become."

OH, THREE YEARS LATER?  THAT'S HOW MUCH YOU CARED?

Then this happens:

"When I visited that early December, I talked to Eddie about Lady's condition.  He was belligerent at first, telling me that he didn't know why the horses were his problem.  I didn't have the heart to argue with him about why, as my mother's widower, he was responsible for her horses."
Why IS he responsible? Oh, right, because Cheryl didn't give a shit.
 
 
Lady is clearly dying and Cheryl has two options: to have a vet come out and humanely put Lady down, or she could just shoot her.
 
Since Cheryl was "flat broke," undoubtedly due to her super serious heroin problem that I still don't believe for one minute, she decides to do the latter or, more specifically, she tells Eddie to do the dirty work.  Eddie apparently refuses because when Cheryl checks in "a few weeks later" (obviously, Lady's comfort and well-being are incredibly important to her), Lady is still alive and Cheryl has to force someone else to kill her.  She then tries to make more excuses and she can't even do that right:
 
"I didn't have money to pay for the veterinarian to come out and give her an injection, and even if I did, it was Christmas and I doubted he would come."

"...and even if I did?"  Wait a minute.  This is either just another example of Cheryl not understanding how words work or it's Cheryl accidentally admitting that she did have the money but is going to blame what she's about to do on Christmas.  If she genuinely didn't have the money, that sentence should have gone like, "I didn't have money to pay for the veterinarian to come out and give her an injection, and even if I'd HAD the money..."  She's either a liar or an idiot, and I have no tolerance for either.

Blah, blah, blah, she describes the temperature and the sky and shut the fuck up, and finally she makes her younger brother shoot Lady in the head.  The shot doesn't kill her, so Cheryl demands that he "shoot her again," and he does, three more times.  Lady still refuses to die and Cheryl keeps shouting, "Shoot her!  Shoot her!"  Her brother runs out of bullets and then Lady, with countless bullets pumped into her head, wobbles around, stumbles, topples over onto her side, "where she kicked her legs and flailed and twisted her neck and fought to rise again," and I can totally understand why people stopped reading this piece of shit book at this point.

Lady finally dies-- "Whether it had taken five minutes or an hour, I didn't know."  And then, because Cheryl Strayed is Cheryl Strayed, she and her brother have some stupid bullshit conversation about her mom and Lady and it's just as awful and absurd as you might imagine:

"'Mom can go to the other side now,' he said, looking into my eyes as if it were only the two of us in the entire world.  'That's what the Indians believe-- that when a great warrior dies you've got to kill their horse so he can cross over to the other side of the river.  It's a way of showing respect.  Maybe Mom can ride away now."

FIRST OF ALL, YOU'RE NOT FUCKING "INDIANS."  SECOND, YOUR MOM WASN'T A WARRIOR.  THIRD, I DOUBT THE NATIVE AMERICANS TORTURED HORSES TO DEATH.

Cheryl then writes this big bag of bullshit sentence fragment that makes no fucking sense whatsoever:

"That the worst thing I'd ever done had been a healing instead of a massacre."

NO, WRONG, IT WAS A MASSACRE.

Cheryl Strayed, if you're reading this, I fucking hate you and I hope you die a slow, painful death by means of a horse stampede.  Fuck you.

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.