So It Goes


In the magnificent novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses the phrase 'so it goes' 106 times.

If you're unfamiliar with Vonnegut's brilliant, piquant, sarcastic style, this might sound like nothing special. But, if you do, you understand how important of a stylistic device this phrase is. Vonnegut puts the phrase usually after a death or a tragic event happens in the book.

Here's a beautiful example:

The correct answer turned out to be this: 'You stake a guy out on an anthill in the desert-see? He's face upward, and you put honey all over his balls and pecker, and you cut off his eyelids so he has to stare at the sun till he dies.' So it goes.

Another one, probably my favorite:

On the eighth day, the forty-year-old hobo said to Billy, 'This ain't bad. I can be comfortable anywhere.'
'You can?' said Billy.
On the ninth day, the hobo died. So it goes. His last words were, 'You think this is bad? This ain't bad.'

Some people have skulls in their houses to remind them of the fleeting nature of life. Memento mori, that's what they say?

It's good to ask, from time to time, could it all end now? Most likely, it won't. But, if it does, it's better to pass away in peace.

Saying 'so it goes' doesn't imply ignorance. It's simple acceptance of the unchangeable. A coping mechanism? Why not. In the end, it's better to have a coping mechanism, not matter how obscure, than living in denial or blissful ignorance.

Because we have to accept reality to become real, right?

I think I'm going to buy a skull.

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