Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scripturally, No One Survives A Tragedy

Several weeks ago, months, whatever, some of the girls I work with came up with the brilliant idea of having a book club. We were going to meet every Wednesday, have lunch, and sit around and talk books, just like Oprah and Gayle.

In the emergence of a book club, the immediately pressing issue is determining what books to read. This was hard, because I love many things that many people think are stupid. So after a highly inspirational and convincing argument for book four of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (The Dagger Affair), my opinion was decreed dysfunctional, and therefore void.

One of my co-workers googled a list of "Classics" which was absolutely fine with me, but boring, because I'd already read most of the books on that goddamn list, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. totally houses that shit. Google’s second list of classics was better (everyone's got an opinion), and one of the first books on the list was Slaughterhouse Five.

Not one of my co-workers had read it. Some of them had never even heard of Kurt Vonnegut.

Now, I’ve been umbrella-ed by the assumption that if you're even partially sane (you could be crazy, and I don’t want to get too ambitious here), there are certain things you like in this country: The Goonies and Kurt Vonnegut.

Those who didn’t like them were a myth, like dragons, mermaids, soul mates, and people who honestly believe that teachers get paid too much money. Shouldn't my co-workers just have soaked up Vonnegut somehow at their respectable colleges - Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cornell? Especially with all those smart people running around? How have these people lived their twenty-whatever years without flashes of him, without hearing his name?

I launched into a tirade of Are You Fucking Kidding Me and Dude Seriously. But then I realized that not everyone hates themselves as much as I do, and therefore they probably want to read things where people fall in love and collect sea shells and count the stars all romantically.

"That's it. Okay. You guys pick out your book. I'll read whatever. But his books are like, good." That's it, Rass. They're good. They're all crumbly and broken and full of more heart and self than nearly anything else I've read. They're written by a man who truly understands satire, because if life's not a satire, then we've been handed a tragedy, and realistically, scripturally: no one survives a tragedy.

So like I said. They're good.


If I could choose any way to be sheltered from the big, scary world, it would be in knowing that everyone believes in evolution and everyone likes Vonnegut. That everyone who's read any of his words was instantly tickled and contemplative, just like the first time I read Slaughterhouse Five, god, how long ago? I was fourteen, I think? Math it up, nerds.

So, happy birthday, Mr. Vonnegut, and happy Veterans' Day too.

For a much better blog honoring Kurt Vonnegut, please read Pistols', because mine is way inferior.

...

On another note, I've literally broken another umbrella, and it's raining liquid frogs out there. I'm pretty sure that I'm just going to give up on covering my head altogether and deal with being wet.

...

12 comments:

pistols at dawn said...

I like your tragedy line a lot. It's so difficult to write about someone brilliant, especially when the guys who eulogized him were like Gore Vidal and Philip Roth. Still, the world would be a far, far better place if people all decided Rosewater was their Bible instead.

Christine said...

i am thoroughly disgusted that your co-workers with their fancy educations don't know who vonnegut is.

btw, i'll be done with my associate's degree next summer. yea! community college.

Formerly Fun said...

No one in my old book club ever would have read Vonnegut, wah, that's why I eschew book clubs. Ever read Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates? Iz gud.

prayingtodarwin said...

Why are we pissing around with our real life friends' book clubs? Because you know what? I am SOOO not a better person for having read "The Kite Runner." Online bookclub, folks? (No, I do not know of an effective way to administer this. I'm the idea woman. I leave the execution to others). (Plus, I'm wicked lazy.)

nursemyra said...

don't think I could be friends with someone who hadn't even heard of Vonnegut.

though several years back I was married to someone who probably hadn't. that's what sex will do to a woman's high mindedness *sigh*

of course ever since then all potential suitors have to fill out an application form which asks trick questions about Breakfast of Champions... needless to say I'm not dating much

Mister Crowley said...

Not heard of Vonnegut?
I shudder to ask if they've heard of Philip Dick!
Sigh....people.

Rassles said...

Pistols: I concur.

Chris: Don't be disgusted, it's not their fault they're not bitter know-it-alls. They're all great people...just not, you know. Vonnegut people.

FF: Tom Robbins is basically fun no matter what, but I haven't read that one...right now I'm going through this whole, like, "Finish Twilight so you know what the fuss is about" phase, but I just can't do it without throwing the book and reading blogs instead. And yes, book clubs suck.

Ginny: Do you really think any of us would virtually get our asses together and stay on topic for more than twenty seconds? Fuck book clubs.

Myra: I'm a Sirens of Titan person, myself.

Crow: I am so watching Total Recall after work tonight.

hereinfranklin said...

I remember sitting in the back seat of the car laughing my ass off. My mother wanted to know what was so funny. As a 6th grader, I just couldn't bring myself to say "go take a flying fuck through a rolling donut hole. go take a flying fuck at the moon."

Also...the vagina is a self-cleansing organ.

Gypsy said...

If I were in a book club, I think I'd want to read smut. Or young adult fiction. Or bodice rippers. Yeah.

Rassles said...

Frank: Vagina = oven = cats

Gypsy: A couple summers ago, a bunch of us would snag trash novels from CrazyLiz's mom's collection, and we'd all sit outside by a fire and read the creased spine pages out loud to each other. Hilare. Especially when it made the guys uncomfortable reading "my breasts tingled at the thought of his manness" or something great like that.

And that's how porn and forty nights were born.

Bluestreak said...

Several years back a good friend of mine handed me a beat up copy of Hocus Pocus. It didn´t even have the cover on it and I didn´t pay attention to who the author was, but trusted this persons opinion. Laughed my fucking ass off and then I was all "who the hell is this person?" and I was all "Vonnegut, who´s that?" And then I looked him up and was like "Slaughterhouse Five, what am I, a fucking uncultivated moron for not knowing who this person is?" Slightly ashamed of myself, I bought a copy of Slaughterhouse Five and began to realize I had already read it years back. Then I gave myself a huge pat on the back for not being as much of a retard as I thought.

I fucking love Vonnegut. And I´m glad I´m more cultivated that I thought.

Betsey Booms said...

That's what I said, booty traps.