the first time i read Cat’s Cradle i must have been in my 20s. when i re-read it this week as part of RP2005, it was as though i was reading it again for the first time. i knew the basic premise of the story, but so much of it i didn’t remember. since i often get many of Kurt Vonnegut’s books confused with each other, i always called Cat’s Cradle the funky foot love book because of everything in the book, i always remembered how the Bokononist practice Boku-maru by rubbing the soles of their feet together. if you’ve never read Cat’s Cradle you should, not only is it a hilarious tale about the end of the world, it’s what Vonngut called his best book. i know this, because my friend Shawn told me.
i love this book. not just the story, but the actual physical copy of the book that i have. see, i got this book from Shawn for my 29th birthday. i remember when i got it i was a little surprised. he knew damn well and good that i had read this one already. we had discussed it at great length, many, many times. so when i opened it, i put it aside with the rest of the gifts. i didn’t get back to it for awhile. because there were flowers and a cake (with just my name on it. . . none of this happy birthday jodi & sister #4 nonsense).
later on in the day, i was sitting at my desk and picked up the letter that shawn had included with the book. as i was reading it he made mention of the fact that the book was signed by the actual kurt vonnegut. my hands immediately started to shake. then i picked up the book and there it was. . . Dear Jodi
never in my life had i been so moved by something. not ever. to think that Vonnegut had actually held the book in his own hands. it was more than my feeble mind could handle.
and this week, when i read the book, each time i picked it up, i’d look at that inscription and my throat would close up a little. because wow. wow. the thought that went into getting the book signed adn all that, it’s just too moving for words. see, shawn had been working at a college where Vonnegut was the writer in residence. after running into the old man on campus, Shawn had gone and purchased a copy of Cat’s Cradle and hauled it around with him on the off chance that he ran into Vonnegut again. when he did he had it signed. Shawn never even thought to get one signed for himself.