In his foreword to “Jailbird,” the late author Kurt Vonnegut wrote about a young Hoosier reader of his books.
“…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. Seriously…”
Think or say what you will about Vonnegut, his politics, his beliefs and his leanings, but the kid who dashed off that note might have re-shaped a cornerstone of assurance for the great Hoosier author – and a simple homily to us all: Just be decent to one another.
I can recall a few recent instances.
Why was it necessary for that old woman at the Speedway to call the clerk “stupid” when he was not moving fast enough to juggle her 20-plus lottery combination tickets and a carton of cut-rate smokes? He politely and with some slight embarrassment seemed to take in stride as our small audience who looked elsewhere and pretended not to hear. Guess he gets this kind of treatment on a regular basis.