I just opened Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and fell in love this dedication.


For Alex Vonnegut, Special Agent, with love

All persons, places, and events in this book are real. Certain speeches and thoughts are necessarily constructions by the author. No names have been changed to protect the innocent, since God Almighty protects the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.

When I looked up Alex Vonnegut, I found he was KVJ’s uncle, and that it was on the plane journey to his funeral that KVJ came up with the plot for Slapstick.

I also discovered this quote about him, which is just freaking lovely, and wise, and mighty.

My uncle Alex Vonnegut, a Harvard-educated life insurance salesman who lived at 5033 North Pennsylvania Street, taught me something very important.

He said that when things were really going well we should be sure to NOTICE it. He was talking about simple occasions, not great victories: maybe drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon in the shade, or smelling the aroma of a nearby bakery; or fishing, and not caring if we catch anything or not, or hearing somebody all alone playing a piano really well in the house next door.

Uncle Alex urged me to say this out loud during such epiphanies: “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

— Kurt Vonnegut Jr.