“I received a letter this morning from a young stranger named John Figler, of Crown Point, Indiana…


…John Figler is a law-abiding high-school student. He says in his letter that he has read almost everything of mine and is now prepared to state the single idea that lies at the core of my life’s work so far. The words are his: “Love may fail, but courtesy will prevail.”


This seems true to me – and complete. So I am now in the abashed condition, five days after my fifty-sixth birthday, of realizing that I needn’t have bothered to write several books. A seven-word telegram would have done the job.




That was Kurt Vonnegut in Jailbird.


Last week a stranger who read my blog ‘end-to-end’ summed me up as follows:

  • A great friend of your friends
  • You love yourself
  • Young at heart
  • Loves your son dearly and probably his mother too
  • Used to be a flirt, now like the company of women
  • Like wine and dine
  • Lazy
  • You’ve a good sense of humour
  • A voracious reader
  • A movie buff
  • Lover of music
  • A happy soul at the end of the day

I needn’t have bothered to write all those posts. A dozen bullet points would have done the job.