Mean People Never Die

by Katelyn Sack

My grandfather had a saying: mean people never die. I remember meeting him once, smoking on oxygen, yelling at wife #5 in the next room to fetch tea and books. She didn't know what to say when Mom asked if she could have her mother's silver – probably thought that was the quiet one of his four surviving children. Hank was probably the nicest, so the road that bit his head open one Florida summer night before I was born must have been harder than if he had ridden sober, helmeted, and not terrified of becoming a father. If meaner, he might have lived to leave his girlfriend, reenlist, and make his daddy proud. My unknown cousin, if not aborted, miscarried, or killed in childhood by weak-hearted cancer or an accident for suckers, might have sued us for the silver.


Katelyn Sack is a writer, painter, and President's Fellow in Politics at the University of Virginia. Her work appears on McSweeney's, The Science Creative Quarterly, Yankee Pot Roast, and in other assorted literary candy stores. She blogs art and the creative life here.