I meant to post this yesterday. But yesterday got crazy. And then, Jessica and I went over to our friend Suzanne’s recently-purchased Oakland home to celebrate my sister’s new job! Holla! Suzanne, by the way, is getting married soon and has offered me lots of fantastic advice, especially about photographers. We met with the delightful photographer she’s using, and we really really liked him – like, a lot – and are now trying to convince ourslves we can afford him. He’s actually pretty cheap, relatively speaking, especially for what he offers, and he’s just so nice and takes such great photos. Anyway: more about him later.
Thinking over Thursday’s post, and just how much I love Vonnegut’s books and his messages, I was reminded of another great line, and the peculiar – and awesome – place I saw it written.
At the study abroad company I worked at a few years ago – where I met my enfianced – there was a young woman who worked in the office who was from, I believe, China. Her English was decent, but she was very quiet, very reserved, and very small. I’d say hi to her in the hallways, she’d nod and smile, and that was the extent of our interactions. I think her name was Mickey – and even if it wasn’t, I’ll call her that for now.
One day, my good pal Jennifer brought her over to me, excitedly. “Bret, Mickey has something cool to show you!” she said. Mickey leaned over, took off her shoe, then her sock, and pointed at her ankle.
On it, tattooed in beautiful script, was the phrase:
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
I immediately recognized it, because it’s one of my favorite lines from any book, and I had told Jennifer about it. It’s a phrase that graces the future tombstone of Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist in Slaughterhouse-Five – though I think it appears in a few other Vonnegut books and stories. It’s simple, eloquent, and devastatingly naive.
Mickey had never read the book, and I don’t remember how she ended up with that tattoo on her ankle. She barely remembered Vonnegut’s name.
We shared a nice moment. I’ll always remember it.
Have a great weekend, my friends.