I just finished "Slaughterhouse-five" by Kurt Vonnegut.
I continue my quest to read every book I ever thought "man I need to read that". "Five" is one of the many I never read in high school (despite writing a book report on it).
My 11th grade English teacher Mrs. Johnson loved me.
I did well in high school. I found it short on challenges (yes, I was one of those kids). To keep my interest I created my own challenges.
One was to never read a book I had to write a report on. I found it much more challenging to write "A" papers based on the silly discussions we had about the book during class. Actually reading the book and writing a paper on it seemed too easy.
I also challenged myself to never attend an assembly.
I did promise myself I would eventually read the books required in high school. I am now keeping that promise.
SH5 is my first Vonnegut.
I bought Breakfast of Champions yesterday and cannot wait to dive into it.
One passage in the book stuck with me. This is reprinted without permission so keep your YAP shut.
He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:
American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter plans flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
Just a tad timeless, no?
As for the BIQ....
I'm coming to peace with the whole thing.
I realized this morning it is the person BIQ is leading (PBIL) along a path of sadness that is getting me all fired up. PBIL must follow for now. There is little choice in the matter.
I hope that BIQ, for BIQ's sake, starts making better choices. I hope that one day BIQ sees that all we have are our choices. It is all we can control.
If BIQ never realizes this, I hope PBIL gets to the point where PBIL can let go of BIQ's hand and start walking a different path. That cannot happen for awhile but I hope it happens some day.
For me, I know all I can do is hope. Right now PBIL cannot make choices but that will change.
As Vonnegut would say, "so it goes".