Wu Ting
How would you interpret these two sentences? How would you interpret these two sentences? 1. I think there’s this thing that after you off yourself, with the way it hurts and everything—and it hurts like hell—the last thing you give a shit about is somebody with nothing on his mind except singing about how unhappy he is. How would you interpret this sentence? I would think the narrator means after you kill yourself (which hurts like hell), you wouldn’t pay any attention to somebody with nothing on his mind except singing about how unhappy he is. In other words, it wouldn’t bother you if somebody with nothing on his mind sings about how unhappy he is. What do you think? 2. I mean if you gave a flyin’ fuck about stuff like that you’d still be alive, with a depressing poster of Nick Cave over your bed, instead of winding up here. How would you interpret the “stuff like that” in this sentence? Does it refer to your meeting somebody with nothing on his mind except singing about how unhappy he is? Or does it refer to the singer’s complaining that he is unhappy? Thank you.
Oct 18, 2019 2:53 AM
Answers · 6
A quick look at your previous postings and a bit of googling tells me that this is from "Kneller's Happy Campers .. a strange, dark but funny tale set in a world very much like our own but it's an afterlife populated by people who have killed themselves.". That would have been useful to know! So, to answer Gary's question: yes, these people are dead. The phrase to 'off oneself' seems to have been invented for the purpose of the story: it isn't an accepted expression, as far as I know. This section is about Kurt Cobain, the musician who committed suicide in 1994. 1. He's referring to Cobain here, and how he doesn't want to hear the singer going on about his unhappy life. So you're right up to a point. Yes, the narrator has just gone through a painful suicide, and at this point he really doesn't care about Cobain and his self-obsessed songs. But they do bother him: he finds them tedious and irritating. 2. 'Stuff like that' means the fact of being unhappy. He means that if being unhappy about your life was really important to you, you'd stay alive to wallow in your unhappiness. (Nick Cave is a singer known for his obsession with death). The irony and grim humour of this statement is deliberate. NB Full marks to Keret's translator for coming up with the name of the bar, 'Stiff Drinks'. Brilliant.
October 18, 2019
Yes.
October 18, 2019
Are these characters dead?
October 18, 2019
the context: Ever since I met Uzi we hit the bars every night. There’s only like three of them here and we hit all three each time just to be sure we don’t miss out on any action. We always wind up at Stiff Drinks. It’s the best one, and it stays open latest too. Last night really sucked. Uzi brought this friend of his, Kurt. Thinks the guy’s really cool, ’cause he was the Nirvana lead and everything. But the truth is he’s a big-time jerk. I mean, I’m not exactly sold on the place either, but this guy, he wouldn’t stop bitching. And once he gets going—forget it. He’ll dig into you like a goddamn bat. Anything that comes up always reminds him of some song he wrote. He’s gotta recite it for you so you can tell him how cool the lyrics are. Sometimes he’ll even ask the bartender to play one of his numbers, and you just wanna dig yourself a hole in the ground. It isn’t just me. Everybody hates him, except Uzi. I think there’s this thing that after you off yourself, with the way it hurts and everything—and it hurts like hell—the last thing you give a shit about is somebody with nothing on his mind except singing about how unhappy he is. I mean if you gave a flyin’ fuck about stuff like that you’d still be alive, with a depressing poster of Nick Cave over your bed, instead of winding up here. But the truth is that it isn’t only him. Yesterday I was just bummed out. The job at the pizza joint and pissing the night away at the bars, it was all getting pretty tired. Seeing the same people with their flat Coke every night, and even when they’d look you straight in the eye you’d feel like they were just kinda staring. I don’t know, maybe I’m too uptight, but when you look at them, even when you feel the vibes in the air like something’s really happening, and they’re dancing or making out or having some laughs with you, somehow there’s always this thing about them, like it’s never a big deal, like nothing really matters.
October 18, 2019
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Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English