Doodad Kind of Town

Another Dark Day
April 13, 2007, 1:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As if life didn’t already suck enough – now Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

I woke up to the news on one of those annoying, bottom-of-the-screen crawls on CNN. All I could think was “Damn. All the cultural icons of my formative years are leaving us. First it was Robert Altman, and now Kurt Vonngegut.”

I discovered Vonnegut in high school. The first of his books that I recall reading was “Breakfast of Champions.” This was passed among my friends and greatly enjoyed, though I don’t think any of us really “got” it. We were giggling adolescent dopes who skimmed the story in search of Vonnegut’s crude asides like “Here was an asshole” accompanied by a childlike drawing of a sphincter. But from there, I was drawn to the all of Vonnegut’s other novels. I recall devouring “Player Piano,” “Cat’s Cradle,” “Slaughterhouse Five,” “Mother Night,” “The Sirens of Titan” and my then-favorite “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.” I loved his dark, twisted imagination – I especially loved that someone from Indiana could think and write that way. As a frustrated teenager who was itching to bust out of her little Hoosier hometown, Vonnegut stirred some deep, subversive hopes in me.

I won’t pretend to have developed anything like a mature appreciation of Mr. Vonnegut’s work -frankly I haven’t cracked open one of his books in well over 20 years. But I felt the loss of him today just the same. I was heartened to discover, in the many remembrances of his friends and colleagues, that there was a truly kind, if tortured, soul behind the books I had once loved.

I remember last seeing Vonnegut as an interviewee on Bill Maher’s “Real Time.” He was absolutely scathing on the subject of the Bush Administration – to the point where you didn’t know whether to admire his bravery or be embarrassed for him. (Vonnegut frequently danced on the edge of lunacy. He did not trouble himself to be polite or politically correct.)

Today I decided that to properly memorialize Kurt Vonnegut and all that his work meant to me, I would re-read the books so fondly remembered from my youth. I would finally gain that adult perspective. Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Texas to spend a long weekend with old friends, and I’ll be bringing another old friend with me. In my carry-on bag is a fresh new copy of “Slaughterhouse Five.”

(photo from


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RIP oh brilliant (and slightly creepy) Mr. Vonnegut!

Comment by Parisjasmal

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