“Where Do You Get Your Ideas?”

I was watching a documentary on Kurt Vonnegut the other night. There’s a scene where they take him back to his high school, to the plaque with alumni killed in World War Two.

He identifies those he knew, recounting and laughing about how they died. Laughing, obviously, in a “so it goes” way, but still.

Then again, if you had his gig in the Deuce, you can laugh at whatever you want.

***

Yesterday I was in the Tufts library and came across Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination. When Serling got back from the Philippines, where he’d fought as a paratrooper, he enrolled in college. He gave his English professor a “barely fictionalized” thirty-eight page story. The biography summarizes a passage about his friend Melvin Levy:

When the sound of airplane motors came closer, Corporal Levy rediscovered his sense of humor. “‘Scorecards!’ he screamed. ‘Can’t tell a Piper Club from a P-40 without a scorecard… Chow call boys… ham and eggs by airmail!'” The planes circle the clearing, dropping crates of supplies, lifesaving gifts from the heavens: “‘Make it kosher, even if yuh have to drop a Rabbi.'” The heavy crates smash into the wet earth, so close to the men that they run to take cover. Levy, however, does not move. In mid-joke, one of these supply crates crashes down atop his head, killing him instantly. Serling helped to bury his body.