The first Kurt Vonnegut novel I ever read was Cat's Cradle, in the ninth grade. I didn't get all of it at the time, but I knew it was funny. Later, when I wittier and handsomer, I saw the book for the brilliant send up of the Cold War and religion that it was.
His books never disappointed me as I tore through all the other ones I could find. God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Slapstick, Breakfast of Champions, Galapagos and Slaughterhouse Five entrenched him as my second literary hero after one Dr. Thompson.
And now, much like Doc, Kurt is gone, and we're worse off for it. They share something, in that I started thinking they both would be around forever. I figured that all three of us would whether the storm of the Bush II years and then when some sleeker, pretty face came in to office in 2008, we'd all three snort derisively and explain why our new President is just a corporate stooge with no agenda to really make our lives better.
I'd say now that I'm the only one left, but that would be selfish. Because there's a piece of Kurt in some of us. So let's carry on for him. Cynical, distrustful of all institutions, but still a sucker for human kindness. And like the man said, "Damn it babies, you've got to be kind."