*Nota Bene: With full credit going to one Mr. Kilgore Trout and his essayist/biographer another Mr. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (from the book Breakfast of Champions)
“Gilgongo!” was about a planet which was unpleasant because there was too much creation going on.
The story began with a big party in honor of a man who had wiped out an entire species of darling little panda bears. He had devoted his life to this. Special plates were made for the party, and the guests got to take them home as souvenirs. There was a picture of a little bear on each one, and the date of the party. Underneath the picture was the word: GILGONGO!
In the language of the planet, that meant “Extinct!” People were glad that the bears were gilgongo, because there were too many species on the planet already, and new ones were coming into being almost every hour. There was no way anybody could prepare for the bewildering diversity of creatures and plants he was likely to encounter. The people were doing their best to cut down on the number of species, so that life could be more predictable. But Nature was too creative for them. All life on the planet was suffocated at last by a living blanket one hundred feet thick. The blanket was composed of passenger pigeons and eagles and Bermuda Erns and whooping cranes.
Reading these words takes me back to age 14 when I first read this bit of adult doggerel at the urging of my Mom. If you can believe it, the book like all great literature tries to meet you where you are. Not a kids book. But understandable by a kid, let me tell you. The crazy goings on, Dwayne Hoover/Wayne Hoobler’s decent into nervous breakdown, Midland, Ohio. There was just so much to read and laugh at, but the big triumphal meetup between Kilgore Trout and Dwayne Hoover, and the sharing of the book, “Now it can be told”,… boy that was art, man. Total art. But some really doozy’s along the way too, like the seeming throw-a-way synopsis of Kilgore Trout’s lifes work. Short stories like Gilgongo! What harkens back, to that time of yore, was a story last night on the PBS News Hour and the most recent announcement of animal species being taken off the endangered list (wait for it! there’s more to this sentence) and placed on the extinction list. Yeah Boy! They lift you up only to take you back down again. A Mollusk and number of birds all gone, all Gilgongo. I always will think of this every time I hear or read about an extinction event.