Welcome to gcmossraves.blogspot.com. If you are my first visitor, I wish I could throw confetti or blow whistles or something. But unfortunately, I don't know how to do things like that on the computer...just type.
Today I shall think on J.D. Salinger. Amidst my top shelf, filled to the brim with DH Lawrence (yet another reclusive author, who only used his initials), sits two very well worn paper backs. My original copies of Franny and Zooey, and The Catcher in the Rye, both not doubt, stolen from my high school, are pulled down at least once a month when I feel the need to quote some amazingly strange phrase that sticks in my head. JD had a way of saying things that noone else could, or ever dared to. I think that is why he resonated with the adolescent crowd, of which I was one in 1972-76 (when I was in High School). You might notice that sometimes I capitalize High school and sometimes I don't. That is because, I have never read anything, or spoken to anyone, who could definitively explain to me exactly how high school should be spelled (or why). Is it different when you are talking about your High School. Like "Hey! Didn't you graduate from Rydell High (School)?"... or when you say, "Yes! I graduated from high school, you weasel!"
Anyway, back to JD Salinger. If you have not read either of the books I previously mentioned, you must stop reading this blog immediately and go read them. I would hate to be the one to ruin the virgin Salinger experience for you.
I will now be discussing Franny and Zooey. I read this book like a starving man, okay, a starving girl, eating her first meal after 16 years of starvation rations. I can still feel my eyes bugging out of my head, as if I could not believe the words and phrases I was seeing on the page. How could something like this exist? How could the world keep it a secret? Why wasn't everyone walking around with a book holder attached to their heads so they could be reading this always, everywhere they went? I felt like I had to hide it in my (gigantic) purse like thing that I carried everywhere I went. I read it in class, I read it at lunch, I read it outside...okay, you get the picture. And if you have read it, you will understand, why I read it in the bathtub.
SPOILER ALERT************************I DID WARN YOU***************************
Zooey is sitting in the bathtub re-re-re-etc-reading a letter from his Eldest brother Buddy. [Who lives, shockingly, like a recluse] Buddy begins to discuss, in his letter, the death of their brother Seymour. This passage has meant more to me during the course of my very stressful life that a hundred other more "likely" quotes. You know, like the kind of pithy things written in condolence cards. I do send condolence cards, but rarely do I send one that already has printing on the inside. I'd rather write in it myself, or find a quote of my own liking. It is pointless to leave it to Hallmark, when you are in love with JD Salinger and DH Lawrence.
So here is Zooey in the bathtub reading this very long letter. Eventually Buddy tries to dissuade Zooey yet again from going into the Theater. But he admits, "Granted I am off today.I keep a good neurotic's calendar, and it's three years, to the day, since Seymour killed himself. Did I ever tell you what happened when I went down to Florida to bring back the body? I wept like a slob on the plane for five solid hours...About five minutes before the plane landed, I became aware of people talking in the seat behind me. A woman was saying, with all of Back Bay Boston and most of Harvard Square in her voice, '...and the next morning, mind you, they took a pint of pus out of that lovely young body of hers.' That's all I remember hearing, but when I got off the plane and the Bereaved Widow came toward me all in Berdorf Goodman black, I had the Wrong Expression on my face. I was grinning. Which is exactly the way I feel today for no good reason. Against my better judgment, I feel certain that somewhere very near here-the first house down the road, maybe-there's a good poet dying, but also somewhere very near here somebody's having a hilarious pint of pus taken from her lovely young body, and I can't be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight."