Thoughts on Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones

Mark Baumer


Crystal Eaters
By Shane Jones
Two Dollar Radio
$16 / 168 pp.




Whenever I think of Shane Jones I imagine he is an old man, but not a normal old man. More like a thirty-something-year-old person whose brain has been alive for eighty-something years.


Early in Crystal Eaters, the family dog dies and the dad is like, “Hey, I made dinner.”


The novel’s dilemma is that the crystal mine people can’t live forever because they don’t know how to live forever. Or maybe the dilemma is that moms are always dying and moms should never die. Or maybe the point is that dads are all cold-hearted and selfish because they’re programmed to steal the blankets at night.


Shane Jones has 27 bones in his hand.


Another dilemma in the book is that one of the characters notices a dead dog smell everywhere after her dog died.


I imagine Shane Jones sometimes goes into a gender neutral bathroom and cries. Whether or not he does, I’d like to point out that he seems to be good at gathering and reorganizing his own tears until all the tears he once cried are turned into a book that is good at making tears in its readers.


Did you know that it is against the law to not wear red shorts with white trim while mourning your dead dog?


I wonder if there is a universe where children never have to leave their parent’s womb and pregnancy is a permanent and infinite decision.


A version of Shane Jones that doesn’t exist anywhere except in my brain first learned about death one afternoon at work while talking to his coworkers and one of them said, “Yeah, we’re all going to die.” This version of Shane Jones that doesn’t exist anywhere except in my brain was like, “Huh?” The coworker then explained death.


FYI: Ants only have three crystals, but pinecones have seven crystals.


For most writers, logic is a restraint that’s always telling them what they can and can’t do. Shane Jones ignores most logic and instead invents his own.


I’m at Whole Foods right now. I just finished reading Crystals Eaters. At a nearby table, a guy wearing a racist sports hat is feeding his baby pizza.


Whenever Shane Jones sends an email, I imagine he whispers to himself, “Magic, must be magic.”


It’s very sad that Shane Jones has to work in an office instead of growing his hair twenty feet long and living in a tunnel.


When I first began reading this book I thought it was a metaphor about the time Shane Jones was afraid New York City was going to kill his entire family, but later I realized that maybe Shane Jones was afraid of all the cities because they’re probably going to kill every family.


Sometimes it’s difficult to separate a writer’s metaphors from your own reality.


If you can, just let Shane Jones’s crystals be crystals.


The saddest-but-most-quickly-forgotten part of Crystal Eaters was the line about the “crowd of shoulder shruggers” because for most of my life I have been a crowd of shoulder shruggers.


Shane Jones probably feels most unlike a human at night when he is lowering his pants and listening to the bugs.


If humanity is ever going to survive we need to remember the guy in jail with a ponytail who shaved the top of his head. This guy does pushups every night and makes spit shapes that resemble his mother’s shape.


Also, if you’re embarrassed because you like to sit naked in a room with air conditioning while praying to snow crystals—it’s okay—lots of people sit naked in the rooms with air conditioning while praying to their crystals for snow.


Oh yeah, just in case you forgot, Shane Jones invented horses.


And, it’s usually probably not safe for men to not process their feelings.


One other thing, don’t listen to children unless you’ve met their parents because most adults are weird and when adults are weird then their children are even weirder.


Life tip: If you have to go to jail, grow your hair long and bring a duffel bag full of crystals with you.


True story: the last time Shane Jones got a C minus on a test his parents bought him a new dog.


Some people think crystals aren’t real and were made up by people with sad brains, but people who think this also probably look at their cell phone while walking and trip over things.


Unfortunately, if your mom is sick and she is always thinking about horses after she vomits then she might always be sick.


Mathematical theorem: If your mom can die she is not a horse made of crystals.


Did you know that all the jean jackets owned by dads are stuffed with yellow crystals because dads believe the value of yellow will rise until it’s equal to red, but no one believes the dads.


True story part two: Shane Jones used to have a blog devoted to prison gossip but now he works in a cubicle.


When Shane Jones was in prison he threw his teeth at the guards until eventually the prison melted.


Maybe the saddest realization I had while reading Crystal Eaters was that there might be prisons on the sun and all the inmates in these prisons can’t sleep and will eventually go insane. Sleep deprivation is a very real and scary issue that most people ignore. If you have sleep deprivation it probably means that you are partially insane.


All hairless men smell like dead dogs.


I laughed at this line: “I’m not really talking, says Dog Man, I eat my own shit.”


There was another line that made me laugh so hard I forgot I’ve ever been lonely, but I’m not going to tell you this line because it was my own subjective experience and you might not have the same reaction. You should still read Crystal Eaters though because maybe you’ll find the line or maybe you’ll find a different line that helps you forget you’ve ever been lonely.


Parenting tip: Don’t call your son “Tiny man” if you don’t want him to go to jail.


If the black crystals inside Shane Jones taught me anything they taught me that modern living equals, “god, carpeted cubicles, televisions, dishwashers, tooth x-rays, nuggets, yoga, babysitters, meat, car washes, air conditioning with floral scents, jogging, speed dating, screens, cat shaped headphones, keyboards, raw juice, leather interior coffins…”


Some people are always like, “Your problem is that you believe in rocks instead of god.” But rocks exist. They let you touch them. God never lets you touch him. The best way to touch god is to smooch your cross at least 666 times a day and then maybe you’ll probably never have to live again without dying.