So I’ve been of late calling myself “Billy Pilgrim,” when people ask me how I am; digging tenaciously through those mad years we call “the Vietnam era,” which I subtitle as “When Everything Blew Up and Everything Grew.” What, she’s not done yet? Not yet, not when I spent nearly three weeks with the likes of Hugh Thompson (left) Ron Ridenhour (right) and the ubiquitous Tod Ensign, as well a the guy below (hidden three rows behind Jane Fonda) who hasn’t yet talked to me about what I still think of as his proudest hour. (Also buds like Steve Morse, Bill Perry, and Susan Schnall, who’ve given me so much of their time…) The whole thing makes me weirder than usual. I’m boring to be around: scattered, listening constantly to Hanoi Hannah on Pandora.com to get in the mood, etc. etc.
But this week, I realized that Vonnegut is far too noble an antecedent to call on here: better that TV show “Life on Mars,” (thus the David Bowie above). So now, when people ask me “How’s the book??” I won’t say I’m Billy Pilgrim. This week, at least, I’m Sam Tyler – a 21st-century creature who keeps thinking they’ve moved on, only to be dragged right back to 1973, one more time.