At any given time I am reading about 20 books. Yesterday afternoon, while reducing the whole of an Arturo Fuente 'Curly Head' to smoke and ashes, I enjoyed Chapter Seven, "Beats, Nonconformists, Playboys, and Delinquents" of Tom Lutz's Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). The chapter in question contains a penetrating discussion of Jack Kerouac's particular mode of slacking off. It is marred by only one inaccuracy: Lutz (p. 215) confuses Boston College with Boston University. Kerouac received a football scholarship to BC, not BU. (He chose Columbia, however, fatefully as it turned out: had he gone to BC there would have been no meeting of Ginsberg and Burroughs, and no Beat Generation).
My chance reading about Jack yesterday was most auspicious in that today, the 12th, is his birthday. Had his slackery not led him deep into the bottle, he might have been with us today. But he'd be an old coot. Today is the 90th anniversary of his birth.
Does it matter much whether one gets off the "slaving meat wheel" at 47 or at 90? "Safe in heaven dead" is the main thing.