RE: in shock

From: Janie Wilkins (
Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 13:18:24 PST

On Monday February 26th, 2001, cdale wrote:

>I subscribe to what Kurt Vonnegut says about
>smoking being the only respectable form of suicide. (If anyone knows
>which preface of which book he wrote all this stuff in, I'll give you a

>cookie, cuz I'll be damned if I can find it)

Actually, this was a very tricky question to find the answer to ...
*lots* of news articles and so forth cited this famous Vonnegut quote
without giving proper attribution to which book it appeared in. And it
has been mangled so that you can find about ten variations of the
correct quote. An extensive search by myself and my colleagues has
finally unearthed the complete and correct citation. So, for the
official record, this quote appeared in one of the final paragraphs of
the preface to "Welcome to the Monkey House" which was first published
in 1950.

The quote is as follows, according to an article in the Milwaukee
Senitinel on 7/16/90:

"Smoking" he wrote in 'Monkey House' "is a fairly sure, fairly honorable
form of suicide".

By referring to the actual volume we have in the stacks of our library,
I can provide you with the complete context of this quote as it appears
on pages xiv and xv of the edition that we have:

"My sister smoked too much. My father smoked too much. My mother smoked
too much. I smoke too much. My brother used to smoke too much, and then
he gave it up, which was a miracle on the order of the loaves and

And one time a pretty girl came up to me at a cocktail party, and she
asked me, "What are you doing these days?"
"I am committing suicide by cigarette," I replied.
She thought that was reasonably funny. I didn't. I thought it was
hideous tht I should life that much, sucking away on cancer sticks....

The public health authorities never mention the main reason many
Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly
sure, fairly honorable form of suicide."

Send me my cookie any time you get around to it ;-)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:13:40 PDT