Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

88. Why Frank Couldn’t Be President

“Me? President?” I gasped.

“Who else is there?”


“Don’t say no until you’ve really thought about it.” Frank watched me anxiously.


“You haven’t really thought about it.”

“Enough to know it’s crazy.”

Frank made his fingers into gears again. “We’d work together. I’d be backing you up all the time.”

“Good. So, if I got plugged from the front you’d get it, too.”


“Shot! Assassinated!”

Frank was mystified. “Why would anybody shoot you?”

“So he could get to be President.”

Frank shook his head. “Nobody in San Lorenzo wants to be President,” he promised me. “It’s against their religion.”

“It’s against your religion, too? I thought you were going to be the next President.”

“I . . .” he said, and found it hard to go on. He looked haunted.

“You what?” I asked.

He faced the sheet of water that curtained the cave. “Maturity, the way I understand it,” he told me, “is knowing what your limitations are.”

He wasn’t far from Bokonon in defining maturity. “Maturity,” Bokonon tells us, “is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.”

“I know I’ve got limitations,” Frank continued. “They’re the same limitations my father had.”


“I’ve got a lot of very good ideas, just the way my father did,” Frank told me and the waterfall, “but he was no good at facing the public, and neither am I.”

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