I recently loaned a friend my copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, complete with underlines from the class I took when I first read it. Flipping through it when I got it back, looking at my underlines and brackets and asterisks, I realized again how awesome Vonnegut is. I don’t claim to “get” everything he does, but that doesn’t keep it from stirring something deep in my soul. (Now, of course, I’ve added Slaughterhouse-Five to my “to reread” list.)
It made me think of an article I read awhile back that I just loved. Put out by the A.V. Club, “15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will” is full of some of the best Vonnegut quotes of all time. Its one failing is that it doesn’t have my favorite quote–the title of this post–listed. I suppose I can forgive them their oversight.
I encourage you to read the whole article; I promise it’s really not that long! But in case you’re not feeling up to it, below are my favorites of the selected quotes. I was going to go with a top five, but I couldn’t make it less than seven. Just read the article!
- “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” —A Man Without A Country
- “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” —God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
- “She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing.” —Cat’s Cradle
- “There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too.” —Mother Night
- “That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” —Deadeye Dick
- “So it goes.” —Slaughterhouse-Five
- “We must be careful about what we pretend to be.” —Mother Night