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Friday, June 26, 2015
My Friend Kurt Vonnegut (who I never met)
Kurt would come out of his spider hole occasionally to deliver some in-your-face philosophy disguised as coming from one of the cabbage and noodles genres. He took a maitre d's stiff stance when confronted by trouble makers, and I think he arranged his imaginary pedestal so as to rise up to where he could see himself above them. Kurt strove hard (but not tirelessly) to validate the Vonnegut brand, a substantial rubber stamp name stirred into the German white sauce of Indianapolis, Indiana.
As a World War Two participant, Kurt was a recon scout who endured part of the war as a POW in Germany. As one to march against others and against causes in civilian life, Kurt Vonnegut was a Lieutenant. He led by enticing readers to do as he did, to rebel behind a curtain of his words. I've wished that I could meet the General who commanded Lieutenant Vonnegut to understand the genesis of Kurt's motivation. As an inventor, Kurt was not an Edison, but more of a salad chopper salesman. I'd believe it if you told me he wore an apron with “Slap This” embroidered on the front. I have been convinced for a long time that Kurt's inventive vein was instinctive, a DNA node created by parents and other ancestors who thought about family and other things, both good and necessary.
I've wondered if Kurt might have earned a payday if he had tried direct sales of his work without the publishing industry's publicity machine. He tried to convince us that he despised the machinery of powerful enterprises, but his success was anchored beneath fathoms of infra-business. I worry that this usury may have crossed his mind and that he paid an extortioner's fee to stifle his own conscience. But, ordinarily, he was not a stifler.
There are shots and flares that marked the location of Kurt Vonnegut's vocational lifeboat. He seemed to be both a rescuer and a victim. With little words, Kurt's non-fiction drew me into a close brotherhood, and I agreed with the selection of garden vegetables he used to bulk his sentimental simplicity. With bolder talk, Kurt left bigger bread croutons that floated on top of his word stew, garlic with onion. Hard to chew. Not easy to swallow, but nourishing for metabolisms able to handle the fiber.