[Readings] Ionic Pixie Dreamboy, By Kurt Vonnegut | Harper's Magazine

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[Readings]

Ionic Pixie Dreamboy

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From passages of letters included in Love, Kurt, a collection of messages written between 1941 and 1945 by Vonnegut to his girlfriend Jane, whom he married in 1945, which was published in December by Random House. Vonnegut referred to Jane as Woofy.

Did you know that you have thirty-five trillion red corpuscles in your shapely body, and that laid edge to edge they would extend around the world about three times at the equator?

Yin and yang are too wonderfully smooth on all surfaces to call to mind any persons I’ve known—least of all us. The union of most human patterns results in something less symmetrical than a circle. But Jane, darling, dammit, we’re every bit as euclidean as yin and yang: πr2 is our area and 2 πr is our circumference.

Here’s an interesting biochemical-psychological point you can work on: despite the fact that I’m tired and fogbound by a cold, I still feel sexy, plenty sexy.

Know full well that I miss you. Here are warm days and convivial nights, but I am spoiled for having lived in four dimensions; for having seen the invisible rhapsodic colors at either end of the spectrum; for having heard the thunder and the shake of the octaves below and above the range of the human ear. Then again, that might strike you as drowning in fruit salad.

This is a picture of a sodium chloride (table salt) molecule. It is particularly interesting because the molecule is as large as any specific lump of salt. It goes infinitely on, but always in these proportions: one atom sodium, one atom chlorine. It is a very stable substance.

Cl Na Cl
Na Cl Na
Cl Na Cl

I hope that we can go on and on crystallizing, growing bigger and bigger: one atom of Kurt and one atom of Woofy.

WOOFY KURT WOOFY
KURT WOOFY KURT
WOOFY KURT WOOFY

Through the history of mankind, this question has been asked: “Why are we here, and what makes us act as we do?” Religion after religion has been formed in a fruitless attempt to find some answer. The proton, neutron, and electron come closer to an answer to the question of life than any other offered. Science is broad, not narrow, as so many persons smugly believe. When I first fell in love with you, one electron hit another in my head, causing a chemical reaction, billions of electrons hitting billions of other electrons. These electrons flowed through a conductor, a nerve, all over the body, causing further reactions wherever they flowed. Valves opened and closed; new chemicals were pitted into my bloodstream. I put my arm around you, kissed you, told you I loved you. That one electron liked you better than anybody else.


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