JD Salinger 1919 - 2010 RIP
In tribute, with happy memories, fond affection, and very great respect:
If you really want to hear about it, you'll probably want to know about where I was born, but I can't really be bovvered with all that David Copperfield crap. So I'll just tell you about all this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got run-down and had to come out here and take it easy. I mean, that's all I told DB, and he's my brother an' all, so I sure as hell can't be arsed to tell you. He's in Hollywood and writes movies. I hate movies. They're so phony. But then I hate everything, cos everything's boring, right?
Whatevva. The day I want to start telling is the day I left Pencey Prep. Pencey Prep is this posh school out in Pennsylvania, which I guess makes me some kind of trustafarian, but I, like, like to think of myself as this deep working-class hero, rebel without a cause alienated gangsta. Anyway, that day I got back to school early after leaving all the gym gear on the New York subway an' all the fencing team were mad as hell but I wasn't that bovvered 'cos what did I care?
Did I tell you I had just been thrown out for flunking four subjects? Nah, thought not, 'cos I'm also a cool, unreliable narrator dude. Anyways, I wasn't that bovvered 'cos I'd been kicked out of all my previous schools. I mean, working is just so not hip when you've got all this other teenage shit going through your head, like sex an' girls an' sex an' how no one really, like, understands you.
Anyways, there I was kicking my heels till term ended on Wednesday, thinking I really wasn't that bovvered about how pissed my father was gonna be when he found out I'd been kicked out, when that sexy bastard Stradlater came in late after dating a girl that I fancied and I went mad an' got him in a head lock and then he called me "you crumby sonofabitch, Caulfield" an beat me up cos' he's, like, much bigger than me, so I thought, yeah, like, whatevva, sod this for a game of soldiers, and decided to leave school there and then.
So I picked up my last few hundred dollars and went to the station. I met the mother of a right bastard at Pencey on the train and told her I had a brain tumour, how funny was that? An' when I got to Penn station I thought about calling my mother, my 10-year-old sister, Phoebe, an' a couple of girls I vaguely knew who I imagined might want to have sex with me as I was feeling horny as hell, but then I thought, nah, can't be bovvered, I'll smoke 20 cigarettes an' try an' get drunk and check into a divey hotel full of perverts.
The bastards in the kind of phony bar that would have made you puke wouldn't serve me a drink - said I was too young - so I chatted up some 30-year-old women from Seattle. Two of them were right mingers, but the blonde was OK, but when they started laughing at me, I thought, I ain't bovvered, so I paid for their drinks 'an headed back to the hotel.
The elevator guy asked me if I wanted a prostitute an' I thought I ain't bovvered either way but I might as well as I was a bit lonesome, so I said yes an' then she came along an' she was cute an' all but I couldn't , y'know, do it, because it didn't feel right. Truth is, I'm a virgin, no kidding, an' I don't really get the sex thing, so I gave her $5 an' then she came back with the elevator guy an' demanded another $5 an' I said no way so he beat me up.
An' that's pretty much the story of the rest of the book. I thought about sex, I rang a few girls, went to the movies, visited some museums, thought about how crumby and phony everything was an', like, how no one really loves me. Occasionally, for a bit of pathos, I thought about my brother Allie who died of leukaemia a while back, 'an then I went home to see Phoebe 'cos I was running out of cash an' she's the only one who understands me.
"Dad will kill you when he finds out, Holden!" she yelled at me. "Why d'ya do it?" "Because school's shit and everyone's a phony," I replied. "But you hate everything, so what's the difference?" She was right, of course, but I weren't that bovvered, so I just said, "No one understands me", borrowed $8.65 an' left to wallow in more repetitive existential angst and have deep thoughts about saving children from adulthood in the long rye grass.
I went to see an old teacher, Mr Antolini, but he turned out to be a pervert, so I went back to Phoebe's school to tell her I was heading west to work in a gas station. "I'm coming with you," she said. "No ways," I replied, but she followed me to the funfair and we hung out together an' it wasn't too bad so I thought, whatevva. I wasn't that bovvered what I did, so I might as well go home.
An' that's it really. The psychoanalyst guy they've got here wonders if I'm going to apply myself when I start a new posh school in the fall, but in truth I doubt it. 'Cos at heart, I still ain't really bovvered.