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The story I’m telling is is true, that the girl I befriended handwrote a Salinger quotation in her second or third letter to me. I thought I was lucky to get such a nice letter, because in the Y2K era, the 2000s, snail mail was already rare.
I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
Perhaps Holden Caulfield in Chapter 3, in the wake of deceiving, might have a little like me.
When I was in my early twenties, I paid a return visit to Kingston, Ontario, where I noticed one cold winter evening a girl dressed like a punk rocker, sitting on the sidewalk, asking pedestrians coming near to spare their change. She was pretty, if I do say so myself, her hair dyed bright blue the way a girl raving might wear her way, the colour that matching the fishnets tights not doing a whole lot to keep her legs warm in the winter night, a petite little thing, and completely on her own.
I thought I would say hi to her. Kingston is a college town, and there are bright young girls everywhere. I think this particular girl was a singer in a band, or would be soon.
We began to chat, we watched the street, we had some laughs. I would have liked to get off the street, but where were we going to go? I’d just met her and I didn’t know her style.
It took every ounce of confidence I had to keep passing off charm, given the circumstances, but not too demanding on my part. It became a sort of a nice time.
By morning I got from her an address, for her mom, in Scarborough, from where she had run away from, and I think it was probably the second one from her to me where she inked the above quotation from The Catcher in the Rye. Almost everybody lies.
Since The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger’s character Holden Caulfield has become a symbol for insubordination, and tension, and now has become identified among the most significant characters of twentieth-century American writing, The Catcher in the Rye a powerhouse of a book. The excellent TV character Jughead, in the Archie comics’ adaptation Riverdale, gives the line in Season 4, Episode 8 The Catcher in the Rye, to Mrs. Burble. Jughead hasn’t applied to any schools, and when he stops by Riverdale High to get his transcript, he gets a meeting with Mrs. Burble, regardless of what he tell her is his “Holden Caulfield stance on phony small talk.”
I wonder how Holden would feel about Facebook if The Catcher in the Rye were set in the year 2020. Well, actually, I guess I know–he would hate it.
Millennials are an astute lot, and they’ve been on the internet since right back when they were youngsters. Would Holden hate the specific act of asking a girl about the suffering that young girls go through when they run away, for an economic system necessitating young girls to go on the run, for the fact of a college town such as Kingston even existing… given that the tools of education are extensively available?
It didn’t appear to get her down. She had good karma.
I believe being a runaway was what she needed to be. I finally cried when I returned home the following day. Nothing was wrong, though.
I’d had a comforter in my backpack. When I noticed the cold, I let her wrap it around her shoulders.
We went into a Burger King fast food joint. There were muddy tracks on it from the slush on the floor when we left. Those mud stains came out in the wash.
In the nineteen-nineties, we didn’t have Facebook. However, I wish I’d learned more when I got around to signing in my last time in a study hall. It took me years beyond the nineties to cross that finish line, by the way.
Years later, while it was appalling that the confidence everybody had, to flex on Facebook and evaluate business page metrics, kind of ended with what happened between the White House and Cambridge Analytica, I think the popularity of Facebook will remain a victor. The David Fincher film The Social Network is one of my favourite films. The Wall Street Journal ran an idiosyncratic feature for its tech segment the third week of March, 2020.
Here an American journalist is trying to rekindle the enjoyment we had getting on Facebook before the Trump administration in the White House made it seem so senseless. Personally, I am a modest Canadian.
The family business where I’ve been working has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited