I just learned today that Robert Pirsig died yesterday, age 88. For those of us who came of age in the 1970's, his was one of those seminal books you had to have read or, like many, tried to read or simply just said that you'd read. In 1978 I took a copy with me on my Norton sojourn to California, and lost and replaced it three times on the trip. I ended up seeing myself as something of a minor Johnny Appleseed for his book, spreading it around as I moved along. Years later I bought his second book, Lila, but I have to say I've never been able to get through it. Still, it occupies the space on my library shelf beside two copies of Zen and the Art.
After I returned home from my California road trip, the last copy of Zen I bought had an afterword from Pirsig about his son Chris's murder in 1979. This was the boy who had ridden with him on the motorcycle trip that formed the basis for the book. He died two weeks shy of his 23rd birthday. Very sad.
Anyway, as something of a tribute, I offer my two favourite send-up cartoons: