One Douglas Coupland, there is only one Douglas Coupland!

Douglas Coupland

I am a Coupland fanatic. The only book of his I do not like and subsequently do not rate on a top ten of great cultural achievements of each novels publishing year, is All Families are Psychotic. Which I feel bad about as it is the only one I have not finished reading. Anywho, two weekends ago I dedicated (with loving support of Katja) to finally read his latest installment: Player One. Short review: Tragically funny and typically profound. A rollercoaster of suspense and inspiring insights. Below are some outtakes from the book that directly rang a bell with me in relation to the ACAB blog. Just read along, there is no spoiler as I hope you will read the whole book. It is great.

 (Karen, upon being treated badly by a cabbie (due to only going a short distance): “She decided to treat the incident funny rather than annoying, Sometimes life leaves you no other choice,…” (the passage later does however also allude to Karen having something to look forward to).

  • I like this as I find it true, and it gives food for thought on my discussion on transaction costs of doing good and creating the surplus necessary to invest personal energy in improving human relations. It also relates slightly to some party thoughts I shared with you. Remember: Always treat cabbies nice – they get around a lot.

(Luke) “Luke is nursing a Scotch and wondering why money makes people feel good – medically, scientifically, clinically good. What chemicals does it release? What neurons does it block? And just why is it an absolute given that having money – some money, any money – always feels better than having no money? There was a quote at the bottom of the snarky email sent to him yesterday by the Bake Sale Committee, one of those automatically attached quotes from some internet program, and, as it was written by Oscar Wilde, probably went unread by the dutiful committee member. It said, “The thing about being poor is that it takes up all of your time”. So true.”

  • Again, I think this rings true to me to some extend. It is no excuse to be an a**hole if you are poor, but it gives an extra inspiration to becoming rich, which I think more people should aspire to. And I love Wilde too btw… Being a huge Smiths and Morrissey fan that I am. In fact his collected works has followed me around since I lived in Prague many years ago.

(Luke) upon being asked what he learned from his job: “Here goes. To start with, if you’re at work and someone’s bothering you, ask him or her to make a donation to a charity. Keep a charity can and donation envelopes in your desk. They’ll never bug you again. It works.”

  • What can I say. It sucks if he is right! Prove him wrong people. I don’t think he will mind.

(Rick): “I’ve learned that I’m often my own worst enemy. I’ve learned that I rather be in pain than be wrong. I’ve learned that sometimes failure isn’t an opportunity in disguise: it’s just me. I’ve learned that I’ll never be rich, because I don’t like rich people. I’ve learned that you can be a total shithead and your soul will still want to hang with you. Souls ought to have some kind of legal right to bail once you cross certain behavior threshold.”

  • Damn. Depressing as this sounds I think that change and innovation is often painful, but is always the choice of the individual. Bring on the pain! But Rick is here also strangely happy. He knows he dislikes rich people, so he does not want to become one. At least knowing your goal and setting your limitations accordingly can lead to happiness I guess… Even for a character like Rick who is hurting a lot. He works as a bartender, and as such must listen a lot which is a good deed in itself.

“Rick thinks, Nothing very, very good and nothing very very bad lasts for very, very long.”

“Rachel has learned to recognize people’s states of mind from their body language, since she can’t read facial expressions. Rachel is neither stressed nor frightened; she believes adequate measures have been taken to ensure their collective safety. But she has an idea that might help cut the tension. Mrs. Hovell once told her, “Rachel, if you’re ever in a real fix and need something to discuss, ask people what their jobs are and what they have learned from them”. Mrs Hovell is full of good advice. Another piece that always works for Rachel is this: Whenever you encounter a person who appears exhausted and stressed, tell them, “You look really great. You look really relaxed. I wish I had what you have.2 It immidiatly relaxes them.”

  • Try it and let us all know what you experience?


So thank you Coupland for writing the way that you do. And thank you Descendents for inspiring me to say thanks in that way… and for playing the way you do.

Have a nice day and weekend when you get there. I am happy you took the time to read this.


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