For one thing, Johnny Cash's house burned down. The moment I heard, I could already see the 'Ring of Fire' headlines. I'm so grateful he's not alive to see this and even more pleased he wasn't in it. Still, it's just a place and places come and go. An optimistic soul remarked that at least the place will never get turned into a gaudy overrun
Then, Vonnegut dies. Again, not a full-bore tragedy because, despite his best efforts, the man had a great life. He saw action, found success as an artist, married well - twice - and enjoyed a happy family life with seven children. He was loved, lauded and in demand up to the end. As a writer, he adored being "gloomy and tragic" and leaned toward dark comedy. His own son, Mark (named for Vonnegut's hero, Mark Twain), said in a Boston Globe interview, "It's a loss to him that his life has mostly gone so well. He envies Twain and
Although Mark's sister did do her part – she married Geraldo Rivera, a union that vexed Vonnegut to no end. My good pal, Lindee, a flight attendant, once told me a great story about this. V was on one of her flights years ago and she recognized him. The seat next to V-gut (hey! I like that!) was empty so they chatted the entire flight – LA to Philly, I believe. He raged on and on about Geraldo and how much he despised his tabloidian son-in-law. Lindee giggled and, knowing her, prodded him along for her amusement. I can picture V, fully charmed, but not letting on.
Meanwhile, Papa Clisby was promoted right on out of the hospital in
Dad was a "Frogman", an early version of Navy SEALS He specialized in underwater demolition (yes, that's blowing shit up underwater) and saw action in the Korean War. These days, he tells me about how he'd always grumbled about the small wages he was got for his Navy duties and how much he feels financially redeemed after this latest experience. "You wouldn't believe the level of care I am getting," he brags. "They are so thorough and so careful and everything is free! You're paying for it! Ha ha!" Then he laughs for awhile.
"Um, you're welcome," I say. I advise him to order all the Hospital Root Beer Floats he can stand and put it on my IRS tab. I also tell him about all the bad press the military is getting for the shoddy medical treatment they are giving the soldiers. I let him know about the neglect at Walter Reed and how the head of
So, there, I'm letting ya'll know. Decades later, some old soldiers are finally cashing in and quite pleased with the exchange rate.