Why I Hate Easter

I know I've been lax in updating this blog. To those few of you with the wisdom and taste to actually read the crap I write, I apologize. I guess I just needed the proper inspiration to snap myself out of the ennui that led to a case of recreational writer's block. And that inspiration has arrived in the form of Easter.

I hate Easter. I hate all religious holidays. Well, I hate most holidays, but Easter especially. Oh, and if you haven't guessed by now, I'm not a Christian. I'm not anything in that realm. I don't really care if you're religious or not, but keep it to yourself. I only become hostile toward religion when someone tries to convert me, or I hear about indigenous peoples being converted, or I hear someone make a stupid decision and say the outcome is "God's will," etc. Seriously, keep it to yourself.

Today is one of those days that other people's religious beliefs affect my life. Today, I was unable to meet friends at the restaurant of our choice. I was unable to buy some much needed supplies from Target. I was unable to go to the gym. Why? Because people feel the need to celebrate an event that never happened. And let's just say for the sake of argument that Jesus really did rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven. Why would Christian's celebrate that? I mean, he basically left his followers stuck on a shit planet with the vague promise to return someday. A promise that he has failed to keep. Because it's impossible.

Now, I know that my complaints are extremely minor. But it just serves as a reminder that a true secularist still has religious ideology thrust upon him/her, especially here in the Bible Belt. I guess it also hits close to home because I remember the blue laws in Texas. For those of you that are unfamiliar, blue laws prohibited anything that was considered a nonessential item from being sold on Sundays. I remember going into the grocery store (one of the few things open on Sundays), and seeing the toy aisle roped off. What a blow to a bright-eyed and optimistic child.

Oh, and what the hell does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with a creepy rabbit with a penchant for hiding the ovum of barnyard fowls? I just don't get that part at all.  But, like so many other Bible-related things, logic is obviously not a factor here.


So it Goes...

Four years ago today, the light known as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was extinguished.  But like a dead star, his light still radiates.  I guess the fact that I'm taking time to write this after being on blogging hiatus for so long goes to show that Vonnegut was, and remains, my favorite author of all time.

I was first exposed to Vonnegut back in about '99 when I was in the navy.  We had reached that point of the deployment when everyone started swapping books.  My best friend gave me his copy of Slaughterhouse-Five.  If I remember properly, I read the book in just over a day.  I thought it was pretty good, but when I tried to read another book, Vonnegut's words were stuck in my head.  I read it a second time.

Oddly enough, it was about five years later before I read another Vonnegut book.  I was a junior in college and had recently changed my major to anthropology.  When I heard that Vonnegut was awarded his MA in anthropology based on the strength of Cat's Cradle, I had to read it.  I've been in love with his works ever since.

I'm currently on a mission to read everything the man has ever written.  So far, I've got 21 of his books under my belt.  It's not his character development that piques my interest.  It's not always his message, either.  What draws me in about Vonnegut's writing is the feeling that you're not so much reading as you're being told a story by a kindly uncle - the one you would dearly hope to see at those awkward family gatherings in the winter.  He didn't feel the need to talk down to his readers by using difficult language.  He just wanted to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, Vonnegut would have been considered a great philosopher.  He was a social critic in the tradition of Socrates.  He didn't go around exposing people's ignorance through endless questioning, but both had been accused of corrupting the youth.  He preached a sort of benevolence that we all should try a little harder to achieve.  He hoped for a idyllic world that he knew was beyond reach, but that didn't stop him from reaching for it anyway.

Vonnegut was also one of the few literary greats to be born of scientific DNA.  He had been educated in chemistry and anthropology.  He rubbed elbows with scientists and engineers during his time as a PR man for General Electric.  Even his brother Bernard was a scientist of note.  In Palm Sunday, he remarked that good writers weren't to be found in English departments, but in chemistry, zoology, anthropology, and physics departments.  "That's where the writers are most likely to be," he said. 

As I like to think Vonnegut had, I've been suffering from a bit of writer's block.  The words aren't coming as easily as I'd like.  So, instead of continuing this poorly-worded soliloquy, I leave you with this:

You are missed, Kurt.