J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)

Published on 01/28/10 at 07:30:01 pm using 577 words.

“…And this Lane pill isn’t the exception, you can be sure. Listen, I talked with him for twenty deadly goddam minutes one night while Franny was getting ready to go out, and I say he’s a big nothing.” He reflected, arresting his razor stroke. “What in hell was it he was telling me? Something very winning. What was it?… Oh, yes. Yes. He was telling me he used to listen to Franny and me every week when he was a kid - and you know what he was doing, the little bastard? He was building me up at Franny’s expense. For absolutely no reason except to ingratiate himself and show off his hot little Ivy League intellect.” Zooey put out his tongue and gave a subdued, modified Bronx cheer. “Phooey,” he said, and resumed using his razor. “Phooey, I say, on all white-shoe college boys who edit their campus literary magazines. Give me an honest con man any day.” Mrs. Glass directed a long and oddly comprehensive look at his profile. “He’s a young boy not out of college yet. And you make people nervous, young man,” she said - most equably, for her. “You either take to somebody or you don’t. If you do, then you do all the talking and nobody can even get a word in edgewise. If you don’t like somebody - which is most of the time - then you just sit around like death itself and let the person talk themself into a hole. I’ve seen you do it.”

Zooey turned full around to look at his mother. He turned around and looked at her, in this instance, in precisely the same way that, at one time or another, all his brothers and sisters (and especially his brothers) had turned around and looked at her. Not just with objective wonder at the rising of a truth, fragmentary or not, up through what often seemed to be an impenetrable mass of prejudices, clichés, and bromides. But with admiration, affection, and, not least, gratitude. And, oddly or no, Mrs. Glass invariably took this “tribute,” when it came, in beautiful stride. She would look back with grace and modesty at the son or daughter who had given her the look. She now presented this gracious and modest countenance to Zooey. “You do,” she said, without accusation in her voice. “Neither you nor Buddy know how to talk to people you don’t like.” She thought it over. “Don’t love, really,” she amended. And Zooey continued to stand gazing at her, not shaving. “It’s not right,” she said gravely, sadly. “You’re getting so much like Buddy used to be when he was your age. Even your father’s noticed it. If you don’t like somebody in two minutes, you’re done with them forever.”

Mrs. Glass looked over, abstractedly, at the blue bathmat, across the tiled floor. Zooey stood as still as possible, in order not to break the mood. “You can’t live in the world with such strong likes and dislikes,” Mrs. Glass said to the bathmat, then turned again toward Zooey and gave him a long look, with very little, if any, morality in it. “Regardless of what you may think, young man,” she said.

(Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger)

Currently shattering window panes with a rendition of…
Coldplay - Spies/Parachutes

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