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Thursday, October 28, 2010

If The Accident Will

During the writing of Slaughterhouse 5,  Kurt Vonnegut's alien-infused dark-comedy tour de force, he went back to Germany, where he'd been a prisoner of war, to do research and see what Germany looked like years after WWII and the Berlin Wall came down. He and his friend, Bernard, (whose wife had become pissed when she thought Vonnegut was writing another "heroic tale that would get more little boys killed", until they discussed the Children's Crusades of the past and the fact that he had simply been a babe in arms, and was writing it from that angle) met a very pleasant German taxi cab driver that they befriended immediately.
Months after Vonnegut returned home, his friend, Bernard,  received a letter from the chap, which tickled him, and tickles me.
"I wish you and your family, and also as to your friend Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and I hope that we'll meet again in a world of peace and freedom, in the taxi cab, if the accident will"
Now, that's nice. You could argue an unfamiliarity with English syntax, but I like that a lot more than what I see in American books. Much more poetic and powerful.
I hope that we meet again in a world of peace and freedom- sounds like a great Hallmark card, and yet, doesn't ring hollow, like "Happy Holidays!" tends to do for me. (Even Happy Christmachanukwanzasolsticekuh, and a Happy Eid! sounds better than a trite Happy Holidays.)
Dearest Friends and Loved Ones, I do hope that someday, we do meet in a world of peace and freedom. Yes, in the taxi cab, if the accident will.

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