Friday, April 11, 2008

"He laughed a lot and was kind to everyone"

- Dan Wakefield, who went to high school with Kurt Vonnegut

I would like to know what is written on Kurt Vonnegut's gravestone, if he has one. But I can't think of a better epitaph for any human being.

May we all be as we were at our best as children.
Human beings have had to guess about almost everything for the past million years or so. The leading characters in our history books have been our most enthralling, and sometimes our most terrifying, guessers.
- A man without a Country.

I share a problem, perhaps you could call it a tragedy, with most human beings: a tendency to lose contact with my own intelligence. It's almost as if there were a layer of fat upon the part of us that thinks and it's the writer's job to hack through and discover what's inside.
- interview, 1980

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
- Cat's Cradle

All male writers, incidentally, no matter how broke or otherwise objectionable, have pretty wives. Somebody should look into this.
- Timequake

Never trust a survivor... until you find out what he did to survive.
- Bluebeard

No matter what it is, you say, "It's all right."
"It usually is," I said.
- Jailbird

The economy is a thoughtless weather system.
- Jailbird

I observe how profoundly serious nature has made (my dog) about a rubber ice-cream cone — brown rubber cone, pink rubber ice cream. I have to wonder what equally ridiculous commitments to bits of trash I myself have made. Not that it matters at all. We are here for no purpose, unless we can invent one. Of that I am sure. The human condition in an exploding universe would not have been altered one iota if, rather than live as I have, I had done nothing but carry a rubber ice-cream cone from closet to closet for sixty years.
- Jailbird

During that war, which was about nothing but the ammunition business, there was a microscopic possibility, I suppose, that I called in a white-phosphorous barrage or a napalm strike on a returning Jesus Christ.
- Hocus Pocus

We had better make the best of a bad situation, which is a wonderful human skill. We had better make use of what has poisoned us, which is knowledge.
- Palm Sunday

If a lover in a story wins his true love, that's the end of the tale, even if World War III is about to begin and the sky is black with flying saucers.
- Palm Sunday

Seems like the only job an American can get these days is committing suicide in some way.
- Breakfast of Champions

I said, "Saul, are you gifted?"
Six seconds passed, and then he growled, "No, but what you respond to in any work of art is the artist's struggle against his or her limitations."
- A Man without a Country, quoting Saul Steinberg


Jason said...

Great's my favorite Vonnegut from "A Man Without A Country":

"No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


Lucid Idiocy said...

I wonder if he'd of rather been a composer, or a rock star?

"What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance. And all music is."

kjpeters said...


Go to and you will see some trememdous artwork by Vonnegut.