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Sunday, October 14, 2007

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Kurt VonnegutIn 1945, the very toughest reporters and writers were women who had taken over the jobs of men who'd gone to war. And the first story Kurt Vonnegut covered he had to dictate over the telephone to one of those beastly girls. It was about a young veteran who had taken a job running an old-fashioned elevator in an office building. The elevator door on the first floor was ornamental iron lace. Iron ivy snaked in and out of the holes. There was an iron twig with two iron lovebirds perched upon it. This veteran decided to take his car into the basement, and he closed the door and started down, but his wedding ring was caught in all the ornaments. So he was hoisted into the air and the floor of the car went down, dropped out from under him, and the top of the car squashed him.
Kurt Vonnegut - Pacifist
So it goes. So I phoned this in, and the woman who was going to cut the stencil asked me. 'What did his wife say?' 'She doesn't know yet,' I said. 'It just happened.' 'Call her up and get a statement.' 'What?' 'Tell her you're Captain Finn of the Police Department. Say you have some sad news. Give her the news, and see what she says.'

So I did. She said about what you would expect her to say. There was a baby. And so on. When I got back to the office, the woman writer asked me, just for her own information, what the squashed guy had looked like when he was squashed. I told her.

'Did it bother you?' she said. She was eating a Three Musketeers Candy Bar. 'Heck no, Nancy,' I said. 'I've seen lots worse than that in the war.'


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