Slate’s cathartic collection of fired writers’ letters to their former bosses reminded us of our favorite example of a writer’s farewell.
When Sports Illustrated was founded, one of the first hires was a talented young writer named Kurt Vonnegut. His first assignment, on his first day at work, was to write a caption for a photo of a racehorse that had escaped the bounds of Aqueduct Racetrack and was running wild in the infield.
Vonnegut apparently labored over the caption for some time before quietly taking his things and leaving SI forever.
Found in his typewriter was the caption: “The horse jumped over the fucking fence.”
Speechwriters are a more cautious bunch, by necessity; ours is a small world. But if you have an example of a time you used your pen as a sword on the way out, send it to [email protected] We’ll run it with attribution or without, as you wish.