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Fare Thee Well, Kurt Vonnegut

April 12, 2007

I read this morning that Kurt Vonnegut died. It made me tear up. I don’t usually cry for public figures, but I cried when George Harrison died, and I felt like crying when I read that Kurt Vonnegut died, as well.

His books, as well as Ray Bradbury’s and Richard Brautigan’s, are inextricably linked to my high school experience. I devoured their books, and I just adore Vonnegut’s mix of science fiction, humor, and philosophy. I also love that he thought the best thing you could be, as a human being, was kind.

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'”

I just love that. Isn’t it the truth? A lot can be overcome by simple kindness. Or, as Bill and Ted so wisely advised, “Be excellent to one another.”

I remember sitting in the school hallway reading “Slaughterhouse Five” and my favorite teacher stopping to exclaim that she loved that book and was so happy I was reading it. I also completely adore “Mother Night” and “Breakfast Of Champions”.

Anyway. Thank you, Mr. Vonnegut, for your wonderful books, so full of joy and wisdom and humor. You made a difference in my life.

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