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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
RIP J.D. Salinger
On the day J.D. Salinger died, I prophetically Wikipediaed J.D. Salinger's zodiac sign. J.D. Salinger was a Capricorn, and I came really close to Twittering something along the lines of "Non-surprise of the Century: J.D. Salinger is a New Year's Day Capricorn," but then I decided against it, because I have a high standard when it comes to Twittering, and it didn't make the cut.
The next day, the world found out J.D. Salinger died, and I Twittered, "I came really close to Twittering about JD Salinger being a Capricorn yesterday. I would have seemed so prophetic," and then I Twittered, "It's not that sad that a 91 year old died of natural causes in my opinion," which is still my opinion. In my opinion, a 91-year-old dying of natural causes is about as sad as a baby being born on New Year's Day; that is to say, not sad at all.
Later that day, my Dad e-mailed me J.D. Salinger's New York Times obit. I like New York Times obits, I hope to have one myself someday! It pains me that I'll never get to read it. J.D.'s NYT obit featured the following quote from the also-great John Updike (Pisces): "Salinger loves the Glasses more than God loves them." John Updike then goes on to say some semi-mean shit about J.D., like "He loves them to the detriment of artistic moderation," but I disagree. I would deem such love an advantage.
When J.D. Salinger died, I re-read Seymour: An Introduction and most of Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, the latter of which is my absolute favourite, of all the books, ever. I love J.D. Salinger's italics-dependency. I accidentally ripped it off from him, over the years. The years. But mostly I love about J.D. Salinger what everybody loves about J.D. Salinger: his specificity, and his remarkable ability to capture, to revere, the dumb-lucky sweetness which underscores the banality of human existence and interactions. Like when Boo Boo Glass just about dies at just about everything, or when the Matron of Honor clutches at her handbag like it's her dolly.
And that's the LOVE. And I think to deny that love is worse than artistic detriment, I think it's artistic DEATH, which is a ton sadder than a 91-year-old dying of natural causes. I love J.D. Salinger, and I don't mind that he died. I get a real kick out of having my heroes be dead; I find it freeing, actually.
I will now spend the rest of my life trying to match the absurd beauty of the following paragraph:
"Let him come out of this a trifle high. But what kind of high? High, I think, like someone you love coming up on the porch, grinning, grinning, after three hard sets of tennis, victorious tennis, to ask you if you saw that last shot he made. Yes."
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