Farewall to Vonnegut

Here’s the New York Times obituary for Vonnegut. I’m not sure why, but I was very surprised to hear the news. I heard it early Thursday morning as I was getting ready for work. I asked my sleeping husband if he had known about it, as Vonnegut died the day before, and Sujal seems to know news as it happens. He said that it sounded familiar — how long ago did he die?

I told Sujal he just died the day before, to which Sujal acknowledged he thought maybe he’d died several years ago — much like deja vu for me when Ford died. I’d forgotten he was alive. Nonetheless, in his sleepy state, Sujal tried to make a pun, and English teacher joke, if you will. He said, “I guess he Caught 23.

With that, I fell into laughter and replied, “That’s Joseph Heller.”

“What number book did Vonnegut write?

“Slaughterhouse 5.”

“Oh, but that’s not so funny,” said my sleepy husband. Some people just cannot pull off English teacher jokes, not the way English teachers can. And man, do we think we are funny!

I’ll be rereading some Vonnegut soon. I remember reading Bluebeard, and even though he was poking fun at the abstract expressionists, that novel sparked my love of Mark Rothko. I read it right after I finished Sirens of Titan, which I loved. I recall that Vonnegut was a topic of conversation between my very first boyfriend and me. He was Jim Wylie, and we dated in 8th grade. We didn’t talk Vonnegut then, but we both read him in eleventh grade. Eleventh graders still love him!!

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