Every once in a while good things came into view, but their nearness only fooled my eye, and I was ever momentarily a clown for them all. And if there was a god, I’m sure I would have amused him.
Listen: As I approach the birthday that inspired Kurt Vonnegut to write one of the greatest novels in American literature – and set his literary characters free – I realize that the final page contains probably the most devastating passage I’ve ever read. And it ends with this:
I somersaulted lazily and pleasantly through the void, which is my hiding place when I dematerialize. Trout’s cries to me faded as the distance between us increased.
His voice was my father’s voice. I heard my father—and I saw my mother. My mother stayed far, far away, because she had left me a legacy of suicide.
A small hand mirror floated by. It was a leak with a mother-of-pearl handle and frame. I captured it easily, held it up to my own right eye, which looked like this:
Here is what Kilgore Trout cried out to me in my father’s voice: “Make me young, make me young, make me young!”
There’s an old fashioned part of me that misses TV shows and movies where the hero is someone who does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, values honor and loyalty without irony, and where stories show us people being decent to each other in spite of all that’s going wrong around them.
Maybe that’s what I found so appealing about Downton Abbey, despite the fact that it became more of a soap opera as it moved along.