“The Kid Nobody Could Handle”
This story has me in tears every time I read it. (Read it here)
Kurt Vonnegut illustrates the isolating nature of pain (dukha) and the healing power of singular devotion (bhakti) in this short story. When we sing kirtan, we concentrate on bhakti towards the subject of our chant or song.
“The Kid Nobody Could Handle” appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on September 21st, 1955. I’m struck by the yogic elements of this story, which are so human, and so memorable in their forms as a “difficult” teenager and a frumpy high school band teacher.
How does Mr. Helmholtz’s single-minded devotion to his band, a seemingly simple, rather humble, and unambitious-on-the-grand-scheme-of-things object of devotion, bring him contentment (santosha)? How could that heal others?
How does his willingness to hear, feel, and experience Jim’s pain do for Jim?
What do you devote yourself to?