My first book report was on the Cat’s Cradle. A novelty read for a student in rural high school. “Why don’t you just read To Kill a Mockingbird?” my teacher asked. I was hooked and proceeded to spend what little money I had on any used copy of a Vonnegut book I could find. I couldn’t afford new. I may have shed a tear the first time I purchased a first edition of Slaughter House Five and this morning when I heard of Kurt’s passing. I defended him to my adviser once who equated him with King. Heresy. Vonnegut was and is a master of satire and prediction. Making me openly laugh at atrocity. The next time I am at a book store and the clerk asks me what I am looking for, I will respond “Something like Vonnegut.” The amazing thing about Vonnegut is that he said, more humorously and sharp than the rest of, what we all thought. He was a sort of mental doppleganger for us all. I finish this farewell with a quote from Vonnegut himself.
As for being a midwesterner, he recalls his roots in nearby Indianapolis, a heartland town, the next one west of here. “I’m a fresh water person. When I swim in the ocean, I feel like I’m swimming in chicken soup. Who wants to swim in flavored water?”