THOUSANDS OF LITTLE KIDS, AND NOBODY'S AROUND- NOBODY BIG, I MEAN-EXCEPT ME. AND I'M STANDING ON THE EDGE OF SOME CRAZY CLIFF. WHAT I HAVE TO DO, I HAVE TO CATCH SOMEBODY IF THEY START TO GO OVER THE CLIFF- I MEAN IF THEY'RE RUNNING AND THEY DON'T LOOK WHERE THEY;RE GOING I HAVE TO COME OUT FROM SOMEWHERE AND CATCH THEM. THATS ALL I'D DO ALL DAY. I'D JUST BE THE CATCHER IN THE RYE AND ALL. I KNOW IT'S CRAZY, BUT THAT'S THE ONLY THING I'D REALLY LIKE TO BE. I KNOW IT'S CRAZY.
Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all. They gave me frequent warning to start applying myself-but I didn't do it. So I got the ax.
Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch's teat, especially on top of that stupid hill.
Boy, was I feeling peculiar.
Then I stated wondering like a bastard what the one sitting next to me, that taught English, thought about, being a nun and all, when she read certain books for English. Books not necessarily with a lot of sexy stuff in them, but books with lovers and all in them. Take old Eustacia Vye, in The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. She wasn't too sexy or anything, but even so you cant help wondering what a nun maybe thinks about when she reads about old Eustacia. I didn't say anything, though, naturally.
Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. Like you'd just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them.
You figured most of them would probably marry dopey guys. Guys tht get sore and childish as hell if you beat them at golf, of even just some stupid game like ping-pong. Guys that are very mean. Guys that never read books. Guys that are very boring-
So I don't know about bores. Maybe you shouldn't feel too sorry if you see some swell girl getting married to them. They don't hurt anybody, most of them, and maybe they're secretly all terrific whistlers or something. Who the hell knows? Not me.
Then, just to show you how crazy I am, when we were coming out of this big clinch, I told her I loved her and all. It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it. I'm crazy. I swear to God I am.
If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don't watch it, you start showing off. And then you're not as good any more.
Truer word was never spoken, boy.
I mean do you hate it? I know it's a terrific bore, but do you hate it, is what I mean.
The Great Gatsby, Old Gatsby. Old sport. That killed me.
Some guy next to me was snowing hell out of the babe he was with. He kept telling her she had aristocratic hands. That killed me.
I can never get really sexy- I mean really sexy-with a girl I don't like a lot. I mean I have to like her a lot. If I don't, I sort of lose my goddam desire for her and all. Boy, it really screws up my sex life something awful. My sex life stinks.
When I'm drunk, I'm a madman.
Witty bastard. All I ever meet is witty bastards.
I figured I'd go by that little lake and see what the hell the ducks were doing, see if they were around or not. I still didn't know if they were around or not.
WHAT WE COULD DO IS, TOMORROW MORNING WE COULD DRIVE UP TO MASSACHUSETTS AND VERMONT, AND ALL AROUND THERE, SEE. IT'S BEAUTIFUL AS HELL UP THERE. IT REALLY IS. I WAS GETTING EXCITED AS HELL, THE MORE I THOUGHT OF IT, AND I SORT OF REACHED OVER AND TOOK OLD SALLY'S GODDAM HAND. WHAT A GODDAM FOOL I WAS. NO KIDDING. I HAVE ABOUT A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY BUCKS IN THE BANK. I CAN TAKE IT OUT WHEN IT OPENS IN THE MORNING, AND THEN I COULD GO DOWN AND GET THIS GUY'S CAR. NO KIDDING. WE'LL STAY IN THESE CABIN CAMPS AND STUFF LIKE THAT TILL THE DOUGH RUNS OUT, I COULD GET A JOB SOMEWHERE AND WE COULD LIVE SOMEWHERE WITH A BROOK AND ALL AND, LATER ON, WE COULD GET MARRIED OR SOMETHING. I COULD CHOP ALL OUR OWN WOOD IN THE WINTERTIME AND ALL. HONEST TO GOD, WE COULD HAVE A TERRIFIC TIME! WUDDAYA SAY? C'MON! WUDDAYA SAY? WILL YOU DO IT WITH ME? PLEASE!