By Toni Nagy
To write a compelling memoir you either have to be an inexhaustible writer who can tell a story about even the most mundane events, or have had a totally extreme fantastic life so outrageous that a baboon proficient in sign language could tell your tale. It is a difficult genre because people are not only judging whether you can maintain a compelling narrative, but also whether your life was worth living. It is my favorite category to read because I happen to think I am my most interesting subject to write about, and I dig other egomaniacs who have the same vibe.
Gavin McInnes’s memoir How To Piss in Public is one that I highly recommend, for it not only achieves its goal of being insanely hilarious in a mental hospital sort of way, but it is also so outlandishly offensive that you get tricked into thinking it is totally politically correct. McInnes is the type of person that can get away with saying whatever he wants, because he takes everything to such an extreme you assume he can’t be serious even if he is. How to Piss in Public is filled with antics that will make you feel like your time on earth is comparable to that of Mr. Rogers, and his brash style will hold you by the throat, forcing the words down your gullet. Despite the gagging, you appreciate the content.
If you don’t know who Gavin McInnes is, he is one of the funniest guys on the internet who you also sometimes want to punch. I am a big fan of his videos which have a subtle humor that does require some brain activity, but in my opinion that makes them all the more brilliant. I am a fan of thinking. But if you haven’t seen these vignettes of comedy, Google him to find out all about his hipster past, Vice Magazine and blah blah blah, but I find his videos, like “chappies,” “eating the world’s hottest pepper,” and how “bars are not for women” to be more worth your time. If you are looking for cool guy credibility, McInnes is oozing with it, but if you were really cool you wouldn’t care about his coolness because you know that being uncool is actually the new cool — so, whatever.
Now I am not one of those girls who is dumb enough to think that I and that guy staring at my tits “are just good friends,” but crawling into McInnes’s brain and spending a few hundred pages there, I am not sure women and men are even the same species anymore. I am pretty sure I am not McInnes’s intended audience, mostly because I have one of those vaginas he often parallels to a variety of different sandwich meats. I am not a big fan of calling women “sluts” and “whores” — but then he does describe some pretty slutty situations, so I get it. I decided getting caught up in the semantics of what is seemingly sexist was a waste of time, because I genuinely believe that is not where he is coming from. He is being honest about his life experience even if I may not have ever wanted to know what goes through a punk teenager’s head while he is getting it. His sexcapades may be raw and shocking, but I think he respects women who earn his respect just the same as men. He is hard on everyone who acts whack, and is easy to give praise to those who he thinks deserve it.
Even if guys may relate more, chicks can still get into this book and find it as amusing as unicorn farts, but I will say there are some stories you will never be able to un-remember. The majority of his content is the average human experience: losing your virginity, drugs, drinking, love, work, friendship and family — it is just taken to the next level Grand Theft Auto-style. McInnes’s main goal with How to Piss in Public was probably to make people laugh more than exposing some meaningful life lesson, and he without a doubt accomplishes that. But a book is more than a string of jokes put together, and in order for something to be interesting enough to finish, there has to be some other narrative thread pulling you along. A byproduct of his humorous agenda is that beyond the crassness, there is a lot of wisdom that is relevant for generation xyzqw or whatever we 80s babies are. Life is not handed to you; it takes work, creativity, dedication and innovation. Eventually you have to grow up and prioritize things besides the party, but that is okay, because you will want to. Being mature doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and becoming lame, because if you have lived your youth without fear you will be ready to move on.
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