I just finished Hocus Pocus, and I could not go on with my life, without writing this. I don’t think I am capable of forgetting anything in the book, but it was too damn good to wait another couple of days to write about it. I swear to god; it was like the whole book was written in predictive text. It was just a bunch of everything, and it was fantastic. Structurally, I think it was similar to finding a bunch of scrap papers laying around, and saying, “Hey let’s make this into a book”. It is a bit disorderly, but Kurt’s ruminations on lies and deception, is clear and prevailing. I do not know what I will do when I run out of his books. Find another obsession I guess.
Eugene Debs Hartke narrates this book to us from 2001, where his America has been sold out like hotcakes to foreign companies (hot like Facebook stock on 3/20/18 Tuesday…..I thought that was rather funny myself). He went to West Point, then on to Vietnam, and then ended up teaching at Tarkington college. He slept with A LOT of women. He had Tuberculosis and wrote “cough” a lotin the book, which was interesting and annoying at the same time. He got canned from his teaching job because one of his snowflake students didn’t like his witty jokes. Then, he got hired to teach the unteachable at a prison. The story comes full circle because he is actually narrating from the prison he worked in, but he is a prisoner, for helping stage a prison break. Yada yada yada.
One thing I thought was really interesting in the book was on page 240, there is a handy dandy chart. I love charts….it is of the WWII leaders. The first initials for each of their names is an anagram for the word Christ-- Vonnegut is to Vonnegut is to Vonnegut. I also liked how he didn’t cuss in this book, not that I don’t enjoy cussing sometimes, I just thought it was different. He also didn’t write out any numbers in this book; 2 instead of two. He was heavy on capitalizing the word Male and Black and White. I still am not sure how I feel about that…. waiting for my brain to finish processing it all. Was it sexist, was it racist? I don’t know, I will let someone else decide.
A lot of what I got from this book, is still so true today. The propaganda and half-truths that are being spread by people and media such as news stations and Facebook, almost take the backseat to today’s greater threat; our lives being filtered and dictated by media consumption itself. I am not wearing a tinfoil hat over here either.
One fun thing Kurt leaves you with at the end of the novel is a ridiculously complicated math problem, the long kind that really sucked in school. I remember praying that there would be no short answer questions on the test, and there always were. Jesus, I hated school. Anyhow, you have to read the whole book to get it. It’s like a damn pop quiz at the end and I love it! Anyhow, the answer is 82, and because I LOVE spoilers, here is how to get it. On the last page, you can plug in these numbers:
The spouse has been working out of town all week, so I haven't been getting up at 3:45am for the gym in the mornings. So I opted to stay up late and sleep in, all week long, and it has been wonderful. There is something so nice about a quiet house, a quiet room, and being alone late at night, when everyone else is asleep. It's like a secret I think, or maybe that is just how I feel about it. It is very freeing, especially if you feel caged in so much of the time. I get to do it again next week, and I am so happy about it. Now it’s late, and I want to get in a bit of this new book before I pass straight out. Kurt is still telling us to be kind honey. Be kind honey.