National Post (Latest Edition)

The best of goodbyes from Vonnegut


The author Kurt Vonnegut died last week, leaving behind a legacy of canonized modern American literature including Slaughterh­ouse Five and Cat’s Cradle. Vonnegut, 84 when he died, also left one of the least celebrated careers in sports writing, complete with perhaps the best quitting story of all time. Needing money, Vonnegut had taken a job with Sports Illustrate­d even before it made its 1954 newsstand debut. “When the magazine was only a glint in the eyes of Luce Publicatio­ns, they hired a bunch of sports writers from yokel venues who, it turned out, couldn’t write,” Vonnegut once wrote to television producer and director Robert B. Weide. “So then they hired a bunch of writers who didn’t care or know squat about sports. I was part of that second batch, having gone broke as only the daddy of six kids on Cape Cod can hit the big casino.” He stayed with the job only long enough to be assigned a story about a racehorse that jumped the rail at a local track. The eccentric author’s piece, which also served as his notice, was left in his typewriter following a silent exit from the offices of the now venerable publicatio­n. “The horse jumped over the f----ing fence.”

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