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This essay has no title, and it is the transcript of my English Term Presentation
consisting of a first-person narrative of "placing Holden Caulfield from
'The Catcher In The Rye' (which I originally thought was a baseball novel.....)
by J.D. Salinger, in an environment familiar to you. You probably had to
be there. One other thing, we move Holden up to the 1990's to fit the essay.
A View from the Solarium RETRACTION: I borrowed the dial tone
gag from a Garfield strip... as I said, I get more original with
this business of publishing a novel about my "experiences" being alone
in the bloody "Big Apple" for a couple of days are over, the funny thing
is that that's not why I wrote them up on paper in the first place, although
the dumbos who finally published it only cared about dollar signs. All
this 'journey' nonsense. Why can't people just look at the basics?
Anyway, I got my story published, and even I was suprised at how much freaking
money I made. I mean, they even distributed my novel to a test audience
of some English class way the hell up in Canada! I was even more pleased
with the idea that I got to sit in on the class.
The first thing I got in the mail that morning down here at the Hollywood
Looney Bin was a promotional brochure saying "Charles Pillsbury Allen High
School! We continue, through our seven distinguished alumni who actually
graduate, to Strive for Excellence!". Well, I made some of that up, but
that would be the truth, and you would agree too if you saw some of the
nimrods in the brochure. And then there was this Mr. Whitman. The first
impression I got from his expression was "has this guy ever cracked a smile?".
He didn't seem very photogenic, see.
Cutting to the chase, they got me on an airplane to come here and see this
class. So I walk right in the school of course, and there's this Whitman
guy, and, boy, did he EVER confirm my suspicions about his demeanor! But
he really didn't seem like the type you'd want to mess with, so I kept
my mouth shut.
Well, I saw a bank of telephones just inside, right? So I thought, hey,
why not give old Jane Gallagher a call? So I put in the coins, dialed up......
"..... This is the answering machine of the Gallagher Residence again.
This machine is equipped with instant voice recognition and action software.
At the tone, please say your name."
And then something must've went screwy, because I suddenly had a dial tone.
Man, was this school ever crowded, I tell you. I think they were holding
classes in the God damn garbage cans for all it's worth! But what REALLY
bugged me was that everybody just crawled along at a cruising speed of
three feet per minute, and of course nobody would move any faster
or get out of your way. In that sense, I kind of miss all those private
schools I kept getting kicked out of.
Then I damn near got killed. This stupid looking freak zoomed past me and
knocked like ten people out of his way like treading water. Boy, was HE
But who cares about one stupid kid among..... what was it in the brochure,
fourteen hundred? students isn't worth getting upset about. Five
minutes later, I make it to the testing room.
And there he is AGAIN! That same jerk! Standing there, patiently waiting
to enter the room, attempting to bust down the door.... and the like, and
then he turns to me, and, get this, he asks:
"Hey, are you the bloke with the testing novel?"
"Yeah.", I said. Geez, what kind of weirdo calls someone a 'bloke'?
"Good.", he said. "I've got an appointment at the NS this period, could
you take some notes for me please?"
"Um.... sure. Who should I take the notes from?", I ask him.
"Ha-ha. You have to take them yourself. I'll pay you ten, deal?"
So much for humor. Not wanting to go broke soon, I readily accepted the
cash and went inside when the teacher arrived.
"Where's Will?", this guy asks. I'd describe him for you, but I think the
words "Jean Charest hair" will suffice. I don't interact with him much,
'cause I'm really supposed to be an observer here, and so I take a seat
down in the corner by a window with a charming view of 674,352 losers slowly
killing themselves. No wonder that seat wasn't taken. Also, it had "Hi,
I'm a fag!", written across the back of the chair.
"Who sat HERE?"
The tall girl in front of me says, "Oh, that's where WILL sits."
I could tell simply by the way she said 'Will', that something was different
about this Will kid. "Is he mental or something?"
"No, not really, just a little too heavy on the LDS, and stuff like that."
"Do you mean LSD?"
Well, I could tell that I wasn't going to learn a great deal from talking
to her, so I just shut up and listened to the teacher. During the class,
I fell asleep.
Midway through, I got someone to lend me their cellular phone because I
thought I'd give old Jane Gallagher a call. I phoned her up, Jane answered
it, but she couldn't talk to me because she was about to have brain surgery,
so I left her alone.
Suffice it to say, this guy I told you about who I was relaying stuff to
says, "Why the hell'd you fall asleep? I told you to take notes."
"Buddy, this guy couldn't keep an insomniac awake. Look, I won't charge
"Good, because I need you again for tomorrow, for two classes. English
"Whoopee." I wasn't really enthused. "Why aren't you gonna be here?"
"Oh, I have an appointment at the Detox. Catch you later."
Well, he was a major pain in the ass, but I was getting paid to deal with
the creep, so I played along.
thing the next day, I had to go to his Geography class to drop off some
notes I stole from a Scott doofus when he was too busy gawking at this
Ashley dame. I keep telling everybody romance is useless, but nobody ever
listens to what I say.
I had the benefit of spending a few minutes of quality time with some of
the students of this class, and, boy are they ever dumb or what? I'd give
a FEW of them an 'or what', but you see I base this on a simple fact. When
people like you or I or anyone else with more than a seven Total Brain
Cell Count do find out something, we simply ask a question. ONCE. Not twice.
In this case, not seven hundred and fifty times. I mean, all they did was
ask this kid I'm telling you about questions about his God damn orientation
for Christ's sake! And you know, even though I WOULD ask him what gender
he is out of sheer necessity, I wouldn't go as far as not assuming that
he's straight by default. I'll admit, he HAS got a major faggy hairstyle,
and he squeals like a bloody girl, but I still think he's straight. I mean,
he gets picked on so much, I'd probably have sympathy for him if he wasn't
such a big pain in the ass.
After that was over with, I was walking by the pay phones again, when I
thought, hey! Why not give old Jane Gallagher a call? So I phoned her up
again and she answered.
"Hi! It's me, Holden!"
"Oh.............. um, I got a new hobby!"
"I do impressions."
"Wow! Great! Let's hear one!"
"Cool! You sound just like a dial tone!"
"Heeeey! You didn't have brain surgery after all!"
But I guess she was so wrapped up in her dial tone impression that she
couldn't hear me. Eventually, she switched to a DO DO DO DO DO DO DO
DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO.
Then I got to go to his art class to take notes. Biggest load of BS I ever
saw, I tell you. Nobody there spoke English except for me. Everyone else
except one spoke Artesse. Robbie Truman wasn't at the correct level of
mental development to speak yet. I tried to go to sleep, but the teacher's
voice was so damn loud, and what with this Lisa kid complaining about being
stalked (as if she'd have to worry), and this nerd plunking a guitar, plus
this dizzy Julie dame talking aloud as she wrote hate mail to this Will
kid, I just couldn't. You know, this Will kid intrigues me. It seems like
he's got a mental disorder or something, but everybody still makes fun
of him. I'm thinking, boy I gotta meet this guy!
Anyway, eventually it was time for that English class again, and so I left
the spit and headed upstairs again. Well, I gotta hand it to this Mr. Heartless
guy. He is one HECK of an opportunist! Just after the class finishes reading
my book, they do a big project on it. All the desks were arranged in a
neat circle, as well. I hate sitting in a circle, because it seems like
you're always making eye contact with someone. It sucked, it really did.
I'd much rather sit in a corner and hide. But it's like one of those annoying
things that adults like to do to you just for the hell of it. Perhaps Mr.
Hart had his reasons for doing that, but I didn't hear them. I was too
busy sleeping, I guess. I mean, let's face facts here. This guy talks too
much. I personally think that he's just making up for lost lecture attempts
just before he retires early with incentives. The fact that they set things
up just so that they can get rid of you later when you get old and weak
like that just infuriates me.
But the real killer was the students' projects themselves. One of the teachers
suggestions for the big project involved lots of collages and bristolboard
and stuff, and that day I didn't see one damn project that didn't have
collages or pictures in it. That really sucked big time! It seems that
nobody wants to take on a challenge, or maybe they're just too lazy to
be bothered even thinking about choosing a unique project at all. And if
there WAS a unique project, I was probably asleep anyway.
"Oh, there was a unique project?", the kid I was telling you about asked
"WHAT!! You DON'T KNOW!?" His yelling went on for a while.
"Buddy, it was about as much fun as watching paint dry.", I told him.
"Well, you DO have a point...."
What I never understand about class presentations is why they never take
entertainment into consideration. It seems to me that the more downright
dull and boring a project is, the better grades it gets. There must be
a rule against teachers doing that or something. I personally always find
the projects by people who haven't got a clue as to what they are doing
the most interesting.
But anyway, this kid I've been telling you about damn near hit the roof
when I told him I fell asleep. How could you NOT fall asleep in that class,
boy, I'm glad it's over. As the great 20th century North American philosopher
"Weird Al" Yankovic once said, I'd rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand
Central Station with my tongue than spend another nanosecond here.
Leaving CPA, I have one regret. I wish that I had've met this Will kid
that everyone talks about. He seemed like an interesting guy, unlike that
bastard kid I was telling you about earlier. Wish I'd met him.....
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