Alongside Dostoyevsky and Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut is one of my absolute favourite writers. The effect they each have varies wildly, but the words of Kurt Vonnegut — the arch-humanist and cynic-optimist — have always been a great source of comfort to me when the world seems to be going particularly fucking crazy.
Which it has been lately.
So without further ado, and in case it helps you out too, here are some my favourite little collections of Vonneguts word-jumbles:
- I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
- If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.
- What troubles me most about my lovely country is that its children are seldom taught that American freedom will vanish, if, when they grow up, and in the exercise of their duties as citizens, they insist that our courts and policemen and prisons be guided by divine or natural law.
- We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
- Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.
- I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
- Like all real heroes, Charley had a fatal flaw. He refused to believe that he had gonorrhea, whereas the truth was that he did.
- I still believe that peace and plenty and happiness can be worked out some way. I am a fool.
- Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
- All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them
- How old is the Universe? It is one half-second old, but the half-second has lasted one quintillion years so far. Who created it? Nobody created it. It has always been here.
- She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing.
- Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’”
- So it goes.