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|The Catcher in the What? (standard:humor, 1028 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Oct 12 2004||Views/Reads: 2255/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|If you've read J. D. Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye', you may make some sense of this. If not… best read something else.|
The Catcher in the What? ©2004 Ian Hobson I've just been reading old J. D. Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye'. I'm about half way through. I know it's supposed to be a really good book and all - and all and all and all, for Chrissake - and it does have some amusing bits in it. Like when Holden - he's the main character in the story - wakes up one of his fellow students - the one who doesn't clean his teeth properly - to ask him what the routine is for joining a monastery. But, I don't really see what all the fuss is about. Perhaps in its day - it was first published in about 1945 - it was pretty cool. Did they say 'pretty cool' back in 1945? I don't know. Maybe they just said 'the bee's knees' and crap like that. Anyway, so far, I wouldn't put in the top ten books I've ever read. Though perhaps I should finish reading it before I decide. But perhaps I'm just one of those morons old J. D. keeps talking about and that's why I don't see why the book's so great. I don't think I'm a moron though. I think I'm pretty smart. At least, my friends tell me I'm pretty smart. Not that I have that many friends. But most of those that I have say I'm pretty smart. Those that don't aren't really my friends. I just let them think that they're my friends, but they're not. They're just morons. I mean REAL morons. Like this guy at work who keeps borrowing my newspaper. You'd think he'd buy one of his own instead of borrowing mine all the time. Goddam moron. Anyway, my wife, she read the book a month or two back, she says I should pretend to be a young person when I'm reading it. That way I'll understand it better, you know, see it from Holden's point of view and all. In the book, he's about seventeen and he's just been thrown out of high school and all. Is that what they call school for seventeen-year-olds in the US? High school? I think it is, or maybe it's college. I live in Yorkshire in the UK. When I was seventeen, I was working, serving an engineering apprenticeship, for Chrissake. Now I'm fifty-three, so that was a long time ago. But I can still remember it. I can still see the faces of some of the other apprentices. The ones that I was in the apprentice school with. Now most of THEM really WERE morons. Take this guy Andrew Benson. He was the biggest goddam moron of the lot. He was always going on about his sexual conquests. The rest of us never knew whether to believe him or not. Though he was a year or two older than the rest of us. I don't know why - perhaps it was because he was born before we were – but he was older than the other apprentices. And he was pretty handsome I suppose, old Benson, and definitely in love with himself. That's what made him such a big goddam moron. I hated him. I'd imagine myself walking right up to him and saying 'Hi Benson, ya sonuvabitch,' then smacking him right in the mouth. He wouldn't duck or anything. My fist would just connect with his chin and he'd fall flat on his back and then he'd beg me not to hit him anymore. Actually I probably wouldn't have said 'ya sonuvabitch', it sounds a bit too American. Though I did watch a lot of American TV in those days. Still do, well, movies anyway. In those days there were lots of TV westerns, like Bonanza and Wagon Train and The Virginian and all. I think I liked The Virginian best. Though my favourite character in it was Trampas. Anyway, I suppose they weren't all morons, the other apprentices. Some of them were okay. One of them was my best friend. His name was Peter. Old Peter was always broke on account of spending all his money on his scooter. He wasn't a mod or anything. He just liked scooters. I used to share my lunch with him if he couldn't afford to buy any. I saw him on television a few years ago. He was being interviewed in the street or somewhere, by one of those TV programs that interview people in the street. Anyway, we were only in the apprentice school for a year. Then we went back to the three engineering companies in the group that employed us. Then we got to work with some REAL morons. You wouldn't believe some of the old guys. They used to kill me. They were always taking pinches of snuff. One guy used to take a pinch of snuff and then he'd get an itch in his ear and he'd scratch it and end up with snuff in his ear. Another guy used to sing out loud, but he couldn't sing. And he only knew about three words of a song, and he'd just keep singing the same three words over and over, about eight thousand times. I remember when I was in my final year as an apprentice, George, my charge-hand said to me 'You know, there's now't so queer as folk. Thu's only you and me in this place what's reet... And you're a bit queer.' That's how people talked in Yorkshire in those days. Some people still talk like that. He was okay, old George. I didn't mind working for him, too much. Anyway, I think my wife was right about needing to be in a young frame of mind and all, when reading The Catcher in the Rye. It's not a very long book - and it'd be a lot shorter if there weren't so many goddam 'and alls' in it. Maybe I'll read a bit more. I've just got to the bit where Holden is about to go on a date and all, after having a conversation about Romeo and Juliet with two nuns. I wonder what the Rye is and who catches what. Tweet
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