Kurt Vonnegut: the gift that keeps on giving

Dateline: Fri 17 Jun 2011

I'm re-reading Mark Vonnegut's (son of Kurt) memoir of madness, "The Eden Express," in which the son becomes wildly schizophrenic after injesting a lot of bad chemicals during the 1960s, making bad choices in love, land, etc. It's a great read, which led me to a Google search for parts of the brilliant intro, written by Kurt, which, unfortunately, are not on the net.

But this was -- a small portion of a tribute by Mark Vonnegut, now a pediatrician, to his father after Kurt Vonnegut died.

It's just plain funny.

"He often said he had to be a writer because he wasn't good at anything else. He was not good at being an employee. Back in the mid-1950s, he was employed by Sports Illustrated, briefly. He reported to work, was asked to write a short piece on a racehorse that had jumped over a fence and tried to run away. Kurt stared at the blank piece of paper all morning and then typed, "The horse jumped over the fucking fence," and walked out, self-employed again.

"I've never known a person less interested in food. The chain-smoking had something to do with it. When he complained about living so long, (died in his 80s) I told him that God was curious about how many cigarettes a human could smoke and He couldn't help wondering what was going to come out of Kurt's mouth next."

OK, I admit it: the Sports Illustrated FAIL is my favorite part. F-----g fence. The end.


jersey [unverified] said:

happy to report that although it took awhile, my daughter is in the process of reading every vonnegut book that she can get her hands on.

2011-06-17 18:46:51

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