J.D. Salinger, he of Catcher in the Rye and living in seclusion fame, turned 90 years old yesterday. I would wish you a happy birthday, J.D., but I somehow have the feeling that you're not hanging out on the Webosphere. And if you are, you're probably not reading my blog. (Although how cool would that be, huh?)
CONTEST ALERT: If you can get J.D. Salinger to comment on my blog, I will send you a $20 gift card to Amazon.com. How will I know if it's really J.D. Salinger? Well, he'll probably have to send me an early draft of Catcher. With edits. I promise not to put it on ebay.
I found out about his birthday by reading this article: Still Paging Mr. Salinger. Most of it was full of big words and boring ideas, but what caught my interest was the publication year of Catcher in the Rye (no link to the book, the article says it still sells 250,000 copies per year, so J.D. doesn't need my help). It was pubbed in 1951 and after some wizz-bang mathematical computation, courtesy of Cass City High School (shout out!), I determined that Mr. Salinger was 32 when it was unleashed on an unsuspecting, but immediately grateful nation.
I am 32.
Now that's perspective. J.D. Salinger penned his magnum opus when he was my age (well, younger actually). By the time he was as old as I, he was well on his way to becoming an American icon. He had written a novel that allowed him to basically sit on his duff for the rest of his life (which, incidentally, is my numero uno goalo).
Want to know what I've written? A few poems about farting; two unpubbed novels that, let's just say, aren't exactly Catcher in the Rye; and some admittedly hilarious blog posts (my most widely read work, by far).
This depressed me until I remembered, he's ninety. What do you want to bet he'd trade me places? After all, he doesn't exactly seem to be enjoying the fame his novel brought him.
Literary Wisdom of the Day
"Everything started as a dream. You gotta have insight, know what you want. You gotta have a plan. Like I tell anybody, if you fail to plan, you're planning to fail. I've been planning ever since I was a youngster. You've got to start from somewhere. There's nothing wrong or demeaning in flipping burgers. It's more proud than selling drugs."
--Mr. T, in his book Mr. T: The Man With the Gold: An Autobiography