There are a few things in my life about which I am embarrassed (not counting the ass of myself I have made on several occasions under the influence of too many cocktails (or other), but that was YEARS ago so doesn’t count).  To name but two, I have not graduated from university and I have never read a Kurt Vonnegut novel or play.  The two are connected somewhat in that I was an English Literature major at University and I am sure that had I actually completed that degree I would have eventually had occasion to read, if nothing else, Slaughterhouse 5. (aside:  I went to an American boarding school for grades 9 through 12 and since I was already bilingual and didn’t want to take a “foreign language” I doubled up on English courses all 4 years.  Surprisingly, though it was a very academically bent and forward-thinking school, Mr. Vonnegut’s work was not on the curriculum.)

Naturally, being that Mr. Vonnegut died yesterday, there are a number of blog pots and stories about him, his life, his work, etc. on the Internet today.  And not a few references to that famous graduation speech that was falsely credited to him – you remember the one, it was turned into a “dance hit” a number of years back and advised you to, amongst other things, dance freely and wear your sunblock.  Both suggestions that I can wholeheartedly get behind.  But he didn’t write it.

That brings me to Stephanie Klein, she of Straight Up and Dirty and the Greek Tragedy blog.  Personally I love her writing (and think she’s gorgeous, but that’s neither here nor there) and find rather ironic that I found her blog via  a link in a long-forgotten blog that was waxing seriously derogatorily about her.  But never-mind.  This morning she re-posted a great essay that is her take if you will on that famous non-Vonnegut speech.  A few of my favourite bits (the bold is mine):

Don’t play music on your outgoing answering machine message.  I know you think it sounds good and everyone else does it.  Don’t do that. (I would add that the same goes for your toddler aged children, but you know that if Maggie could speak she would so be on my voicemail)

You are not fat.  You are within a healthy weight range.  As long as your doctor isn’t talking to you about health risks, you are not fat. Even if your fat pants no longer fit.  Try, as hard as it is, to realize how good you look now.  Here’s what I’ve learned.  When I’m a size four, I’m usually miserable and anxious.  Then, at a size ten, I’m happy in my life (miserable that I cannot fit into my wardrobe, but actually happy in my life), but as happy as I am, I long to be the miserable size four again.  It’s lame-ass behavior.  Stop worrying about it.  Your weight issues aren’t going away, so just deal and learn to love yourself at whateverthehell size you are.  Just deal.  (AMEN to that!)

Accept compliments graciously.  Don’t pull the old, “oh stop,” or “ew, no I don’t.”  Don’t roll your eyes.  Take it in, and really accept it.  Shake your head and respond with a heartfelt, “thank you.” (I really need to learn how to do that)

Get a pet.  You live longer and happier when you can care for it properly.  When you’re older, you tend to live longer if you have a pet.  It’s an activity; something is relying on you.  They also lower your blood pressure. (more evidence that I should be able to deduct Maggie on my taxes)

Better yet,  read the post (and the rest of her blog, seriously it’s great) here.

This weekend I plan to pay a visit to my favourite second-hand book store and pick up at least 2 of his novels and read them.

About that other regret, that whole unfinished degree thing, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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