Friday, June 22, 2007

Kurt's and My Bucking Bronco

I've tried not to think about Kurt Vonnegut's death; I still haven't decided just how great a writer he was. Slaughterhouse-Five accretes increasing significance as I age.

I never met Mr. Vonnegut (although, weirdly, I met his brother, and under interesting circumstances and at an important time), and I cannot find the quote, but I believe he spoke of male puberty--when he was 70 or so--as something like "getting up onto a bucking bronco around age 12, and only just recently being allowed to get down off the damn thing, and with relief."

Somewhen in my early twenties, I asked my father, "Dad, does it ever end?" He knew what I was talking about. "No, not yet." I asked him again ten years later--admittedly after his stroke, his ex-patriation, his heart attacks--and he did not know what I was talking about. That said, even under his burdens, it turns out that he had a girlfriend (or at least a woman that wanted to be his girlfriend).

On my run this morning, I was thinking about how much to reveal--for business reasons, I do not think I will explain the extent of the handicap under which men operate, how often their minds stray toward the physical, how each interaction is assessed for its potential, even when the potential is, in reality, zero (which is irrelevant, given men's talent for compartmentalization--for good and ill--and their ability to simultaneously consider what I might as well term 'alternate universes,' i.e., situational outcomes "under other conditions").

'Nuff said. I like my job.

P.S. Went looking for the quote, found a MUCH more eloquent post regarding Vonnegut's death from Humble Viewer

The author reminded me that "Ray Bradbury will be next--he'll be 87 this August. And I'm not trying to jinx Bradbury--besides, that old Gothicist would probably be happy to see his mortality batted around like a shuttlecock. I'm simply watching the seconds tick on the deathclock of my youth."

Deathclock of my youth. Raises the hairs along my arm...

Dandelion Wine was a good one; thanks Ray.

I saw Mr. Bradbury direct a stage version of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I rode my little motorcycle over the mountains to see the show four or five times, including the pre-opening (with post-play discussion with Mr. Bradbury). The play knocked my socks off.

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