“Destroy my privates.”

My first jujitsu class was three and a half months ago. Self-defense was something that I was extremely curious about, for obvious reasons, and Mom thought it would be good for me to have a physical activity besides tambourining, so my first jujitsu class was three and a half months ago. There were fourteen kids in the class, and we all had on neat white robes. We practiced bowing, and then we were all sitting down Native American style, and then Sensei Mark asked me to go over to him. “Kick my privates,” he told me. That made me feel self-conscious. “Excusez-moi?” I told him. He spread his legs and told me, “I want you to kick my privates as hard as you can.” He put his hands at his sides, and took a breath in, and closed his eyes, and that”s how I knew that actually he meant business. “Jose,” I told him, and inside I was thinking, What the? He told me, “Go on, guy. Destroy my privates.” “Destroy your privates?” With his eyes still closed he cracked up a lot and said, “You couldn”t destroy my privates if you tried. That”s what”s going on here. This is a demonstration of the well-trained body”s ability to absorb a direct blow. Now destroy my privates.” I told him, “I”m a pacifist,” and since most people my age don”t know what that means, I turned around and told the others, “I don”t think it”s right to destroy people”s privates. Ever.” Sensei Mark said, “Can I ask you something?” I turned back around and told him, ” “Can I ask you something?” is asking me something.” He said, “Do you have dreams of becoming a jujitsu master?” “No,” I told him, even though I don”t have dreams of running the family jewelry business anymore. He said, “Do you want to know how a jujitsu student becomes a jujitsu master?” “I want to know everything,” I told him, but that isn”t true anymore either. He told me, “A jujitsu student becomes a jujitsu master by destroying his master”s privates.” I told him, “That”s fascinating.” My last jujitsu class was three and a half months ago.

That’s the fourth paragraph from the first chapter of my second-favourite book. It’s called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and it was written by Jonathan Safran Foer. The reason I bring it up is because this morning I was looking into his newest book, Eating Animals, and I came across some mixed reviews of the latter and some really scathing reviews of the former.

I don’t like hearing that one of my favourite books in the world is contrived and cloying. So I guess I’m just putting this up here to see if I can get other people to read this book, and tell me what you think. The paragraph I posted up top is on the first page and it’s the passage that essentially propelled me to read the entire book in two days (which is reading in light-speed for my dyslexic ass). Or if you’ve already read it, did you find it pretentious and overly sentimental? And if you have no interest in this discussion, I hope you at least enjoyed the passage about jujitsu lessons.


About R. Spacely

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2 Responses to “Destroy my privates.”

  1. Adam says:

    Nice little experiment you’ve got here. I read Foer’s Extremely Loud when it first came out in 2005, and it was really the first novel I came across that dealt in any meaningful way with 9/11. Hope that wasn’t supposed to be a spoiler since you didn’t mention it in your post.

    I think that is why critics responding negatively to it, because even four years later they thought it was “too soon” or disrespectful. I thought it was handled tastefully and added a powerful backdrop to a family story, which is really Foer’s strength as a writer, as evidenced in his first work, Everything Is Illuminated.

    Eating Animals is not currently on my to-read list, because I have a feeling it could be preachy, although informative. I’ll tune back in when he gets back to fiction. I highly recommend reading both of his novels.

    • That’s what my major concern is with his latest: the preachiness factor. But yes, His other two books are beautiful. Although, Everything is Illuminated didn’t hit me in the chest nearly as much as Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. This book changed my life really. In fact, this blog wouldn’t even exist were in not for that book.

      Thank you for your insight.

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