December 3, 2012

Progressive Utopia as Seen from 1962: 2 B R 0 2 B, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

"In the not so distant future an over-populated planet requires that every birth be balanced by a death. When Edward K. Whelig, Jr.’s wife births triplets he needs to find three people willing to enter a local suicide booth and give him the receipt…"


Everything was perfectly swell.

There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars.

All diseases were conquered. So was old age.

Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers.

The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million souls.

One bright morning in the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a man named Edward K. Wehling, Jr., waited for his wife to give birth. He was the only man waiting. Not many people were born a day any more.

Wehling was fifty-six, a mere stripling in a population whose average age was one hundred and twenty-nine.

X-rays had revealed that his wife was going to have triplets. The children would be his first.

Young Wehling was hunched in his chair, his head in his hand. He was so rumpled, so still and colorless as to be virtually invisible. His camouflage was perfect, since the waiting room had a disorderly and demoralized air, too. Chairs and ashtrays had been moved away from the walls. The floor was paved with spattered dropcloths.

The room was being redecorated. It was being redecorated as a memorial to a man who had volunteered to die.

A sardonic old man, about two hundred years old, sat on a stepladder, painting a mural he did not like. Back in the days when people aged visibly, his age would have been guessed at thirty-five or so. Aging had touched him that much before the cure for aging was found.

The mural he was working on depicted a very neat garden. Men and women in white, doctors and nurses, turned the soil, planted seedlings, sprayed bugs, spread fertilizer.

Men and women in purple uniforms pulled up weeds, cut down plants that were old and sickly, raked leaves, carried refuse to trash-burners.

Never, never, never—not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan—had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use.

A hospital orderly came down the corridor, singing under his breath a popular song:

If you don't like my kisses, honey,
Here's what I will do:
I'll go see a girl in purple,
Kiss this sad world toodle-oo.
If you don't want my lovin',
Why should I take up all this space?
I'll get off this old planet,
Let some sweet baby have my place.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF 2 B R 0 2 B, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. HERE

Or listen to audio reading to the story:

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 3, 2012 12:56 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"Welcome to the Monkey House". My favorite Vonnegut, for the line "...they had been swilling gin."


Posted by: leelu at December 3, 2012 5:30 PM

I wonder if Logan's Run was inspired by that story.

Posted by: Potsie at December 4, 2012 4:52 AM

The mild side effects mentioned are not expected to last for too long and there is no need for you to report them to your doctor, ! You will need to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications: contraceptives, medications for depression, pain medications, muscle relaxants, probenecid, tranquilizers, ketoconazole, sleeping pills, vitamins, cimetidine, colds and allergies meds, fluoxetine, asthma meds, antihistamines, or sedatives, as otherwise they can affect Valium.

Posted by: name at October 11, 2013 11:17 AM

Once you started taking it do not discontinue the treatment, as this may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, such as extreme tiredness and depression - ? If you are also taking any other medications that may potentially interfere with the efficiency of zolpidem, make sure your health care provider is aware of them.

Posted by: name at October 11, 2013 3:41 PM