Culture vulture

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Cleaning the nest
It is spring cleaning time at Culture Vulture World Headquarters. The accumulated detritus of the past year must be sifted through and as much of it as possible must be given to friends, sold at the not-quite-annual CVWH yard sale, discarded to the scrap heap, or donated to some worthy cause. To this end the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie and self have been attempting to formulate viable criteria for that which goes and that which stays. Both of us being inclined to pack-rattery does not make this an easy process. So we were very pleased when a casual conversation with our pal Amy found us hitting on a formula for successful divestiture of no-longer-desired items.

We were conversing, we and this chance-encountered Amy, about the ways in which people store their memorabilia, having strayed onto the topic while talking about how to go about sorting through and evaluating the belongings of a recently deceased relative or friend.

Daphne mentioned that it was fascinating to be looking through books or belongings and finding notes or news clippings that the owner had affixed to or stored with a particular item. We all agreed that such things add value and comprehension to the process of sorting through the material legacy of the departed.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if every object had a written history explaining its significance in a person’s life?” she asked.

It was agreed that it would indeed be cool. “But,” she added after a moment’s reflection, “there is so much stuff that has little or no significance.” And that’s when we realized she’d hit on a great formula for spring cleaning.

“What if we just got rid of everything that we don’t care enough about to write a story explaining why we have it?”

“That is genius!” I practically yelled, resolving instantly that from now on in our house, we’ll get rid of anything we don’t want to—or can’t—explain. No more dried out ball-point pens, month-old newspapers, broken CD cases, inexplicable remote controls, paint-stained T-shirts, faulty telephones, previously used gift bags, old rolls of film or unsolicited review copies of tedious books I have no intention of reading. And that’s just what I can see sitting at my desk. Wait till I get to the garage!

This might be the cleanest spring ever.

So it goes
Culture Vulture is compelled to acknowledge our sorrow at the passing of one of planet Earth’s greatest citizens and writers, Kurt Vonnegut. When I discovered Vonnegut in high school back in the early ‘70s I felt I’d met a kindred spirit, a person who was filled with cynicism by the collective history of mankind, but who was also filled with compassion for the struggles and hope for the potential of human beings as individuals. Very fewpeople can successfully blend cynicism and compassion to achieve humor and good will, and it’s hard not to feel that the world is diminished by the passing of such an artist.