The Trembling Melody of Our Phoniness

I’m reading about J.D. Salinger’s unflinching dedication to writing. During bombardments in the dank battlescape of WWII, he would never stop tapping away. He actually had a damn typewriter out there, with paper and ribbons and other necessary accessories, amidst the mounds of bodies and screams of maimed pals. Huddled under a table, his regiment under intense fire, his mellifluous stream of prose eroded the literary landscape unfettered.

That’s damn admirable. I don’t write for reasons like:

  • A football game featuring a certain team is on the television.
  • A light bulb has expired, requiring me to walk aimlessly around the unkempt aisles of Home Depot for hours.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m hungry.
  • I’m horny.

If someone was trying to kill me while I was crapping my pants in a bloody, rat-infested foxhole, I probably wouldn’t tap Evernote and hammer out some poesy. I’d just poop my pants some more and think about damn Twinkies, which may soon no longer exist.

You can’t out-smug me, Rhodes. Try it. Dare ya, phony guy.

I just turned 39, and I’ve decided to patch together a damn riotous midlife crisis. I plan to buy a Tesla, drive it to the damn Maserati dealer, and give it to a homeless guy on El Camino. I’ll then try to fail as a writer again, and I’ll be really original and move to Paris. Then I’ll write a book about it, another truly original act. As no American man has done before, I’ll fall in love with a hauntingly enchanting femme fatale and forsake all I know to let her systematically destroy my soul and financial health.

I’m reading about J.D. Salinger on a damn overpriced iPad Mini, on an airplane. Where he was leathery tough and unspoiled, I’m a soft fatty splotch on the veneer of modern comforts.

That said, I’m tougher than every damn young punk raised on the technology and services I cherish and appreciate. Every generation has said this about the following generation, but you’re all a bunch of spoiled chumps.

When I was 22, J.D. punched me in the gut with “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” I read it as a book, on damn paper. The book smelled, as they do. It changed smells when Seymour shot himself in the head. The world has never smelled the same to me after that, ever. I’ve given up writing a little bit every day since. Jerome’s precision and mastery are simply demoralizing. Why even bother? Damn it.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’m going to sit my ass on my cozy couch in blinding suburbia, with my one and only girl (French femme fatales are such a cliché), and think about being somebody else, about being J.D. Salinger.

Not a bad little deal, this damn phoniness.

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