Monday, February 01, 2010

On Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye, for me, will never be about what Salinger wrote. It was about what a girl, a particular girl, wrote inside the front cover.

If you want to know the details, I'll have to disappoint you, because I was basically twelve. But she was friends with the kids across the street, and she was a tomboy, and she was cute. We met, and we flirted in that twelve year old way.

And then a couple of years passed, and I was at some church youth group thing, and she showed up as a friend of one of the kids in the group, and she was a little cuter, and she kicked my ass at softball, and we flirted some more, and I thought about trying to call her, but I had no more idea what do next than I would if you stuck me behind the wheel of a spaceship.

Flash forward another couple of years, and I'm on the front porch of the cottage in Ludington, reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye that I picked up at some used bookstore, and Theron asks to see it.

"Who's Robin Moerlein?" he asks, and I start, and tell him that she's some girl I met a couple of times, and where in the hell did he come up with that name?

"It's inside the front cover of your book. Along with her phone number. You going to call her?"

I never did.

And that's what I think of when anybody mentions The Catcher in the Rye.