So it goes


So it goes


After reading Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," my 11th grade English teacher asked us, "Is death meaningful?" The question forced us to think about the line that appeared over and over in Vonnegut's book, the line that appeared after anyone died: "So it goes." My classremained silent, thinking.

"So it goes," sounds light, almost casual. It would describe the feeling most of us get when we read some headline "30 dead in Iraq," or "Tsunami Claims Countless." Vonnegut's line seems fitting for some far off death, very distant from us, almost unimportant. But would I say "So it goes" after I learned my mother died, or my wife was killed? Would I say that casual line after yesterday's events at Tech? The death I once thought was far off, remote and alien, has now struck my life, my family and a campus just two hours away.

Yesterday people said things like, "It could have happened to us," and "I have a close friend in that dorm." Yesterday people were "shocked" and "humbled." So if the university were to answer my 11th grade teacher's question, "Is death meaningful?" We would all shout, "of course it is!" Butsadly we only answer this now because of a vicious reminder. Death has become real, close and tangible. Only now do we recognize it.

Of all the hypothetical questions and "what ifs" that plague our minds everyday, we seldom reflect on the one possibility that is certain -- our own deaths. We worry about Arab history midterms, internshipapplications, and getting a date for semi-formal, but we never think about the only thing in our lives that definitely will happen.

Vonnegut's 'so it goes' was not meant to cheapen life, but was a useful reminder that death will happen to us all. Do you remember that angry wind yesterday? The wind that burned your face and made your eyes water? We should carry a little bit of that wind with us every day, not to makeus hurt and weep, but to remind ourselves that we are all fragile and finite. If we do that, we won't need tragedy to wake us up. We will carry a vigor for life wherever we go. Because now we know each day has meaning, and we will strive to live each moment to its potential.

Hamza Shaban


Original Source:<a href=>The Cavalier Daily - April 18, 2007</a>


Hamza Shaban


The Cavalier Daily




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Hamza Shaban, “So it goes,” The April 16 Archive, accessed June 24, 2024,