The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
(Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1979)
I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.
I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.
It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed the road.
I used to think about old Spencer quite a lot, and if you thought abut him too much, your wondered what the heck he was still living for.
I don’t much like to see old guys in their pajamas and bathrobes anyway. Their bumpy old chests are always showing. And their legs. Old guys’ legs, at beaches and places, always look so white and unhairy.
I act quite young for my ae sometimes. I was sixteen then, and I’m seventeen how, and some times I act like I’m about thirteen.
I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age.
People never notice anything.
That’s something that drives me crazy. When people say something twice that way, after you admit it the first time.
You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.
It’s funny. You don’t have to think too hard when you talk to a teacher.
One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies.
I’m just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all, don’t they?
I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful.
I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
Sometimes I horse around quite a lot, just to keep from getting bored.
“This is a people shooting hat,” I said. “I shoot people in this hat.”
I hate the movies like poison, but I get s bang imitating them.
My brother Allie … He’s dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946. You’d have liked him. \he was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent.
All morons hate it when you call them a moron.
It’s pretty hard to knock a guy out, except in the goddam movies.
You never saw such gore in your life. I had blood all over my mouth and chin and even on my pajamas and bathrobe. It partly scared me and it partly fascinated me.
I felt so lonesome, all of a sudden. I almost wished I was dead.
So what I decided to do, I decided I’d take a room in a hotel in New York - some very inexpensive hotel and all - and just take it easy till Wednesday. Then, on Wednesday, I’d go home all rested up and feeling swell.
Almost every tine somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.
When I was all set to go, when I had my gas and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don’t know why. I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice. “Sleep tight, ya moroons!” I’ll bet I woke up every bastard on the whole floor. Then I got the hell out. Some stupid guy had thrown peanut shells all over the stairs, and I damn near broke my crazy neck.
When I’m with somebody that’s corny, I always act corny too.
In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.
It’s really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes.
The one thing I hate to do is go to bed when I’m not even tired.
That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not too much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.
Some people you shouldn’t kid, even if they deserve it.
You don’t always have to get too sexy to get to know a girl.
Most girls if you hold hands with them, their goddam hand dies on you, or else they think they have to keep moving their hand all the time, as if they were afraid they’d bore you or something.
I’m always saying “Glad t meet you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.
People are always ruining things for you.
I never care too much when I lose something … I never seem to have anything that if I lost it I’d care too much.
If you’re supposed to sock somebody in the jaw, and you sort of feel like doing it, you should do it.
The thing is, most of the time when you’re coming pretty close to doing it with a girl - a girl that isn’t a prostitute or anything, I mean - she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don’t. I can’t help it. You never know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they’re just scared as hell, or whether they’re just telling you to stop so that if you do go through wit it, the blame’ll be on you, not them. Anyway, I keep stopping. The trouble is, I get to feeling sorry for them. I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. I don’t know. They tell me to stop, so I stop. I always wish I hadn’t, after I take them home, but I keep doing it anyway.
Half the time, if you really want to know the truth, when I’m horsing around with a girl, I have a helluva lot of trouble just finding what I’m looking for.
I’m sort of an atheist. I like Jesus and all, but I don’t care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible.
The guy I like best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones. I like him ten times as much as the disciples.
The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I’m not kidding.
What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would have done it, too, if I’d been sure somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.
Grand. If there’s one word I hate it’s grand. It’s so phony.
I’d spent a king’s ransom in about two lousy weeks. I really had. I’m a goddam spendthrift at heart. What I don’t spend, I lose. Half the time I sort of even forget to pick up my change, at restaurants and night clubs and all.
It isn’t important, I know, but I hate it when somebody has cheap suitcases. It sounds terrible to say it, but I can even get to somebody, just looking at them, if they have cheap suitcases with them.
Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.
I’m not crazy about talking to girls’ mothers on the phone.
It didn’t seem at all like Christmas was coming soon. It didn’t seem like anything was coming.
Certain things they should stay the way they are.
You don’t just go up to somebody and say, “You’re a terrific whistler.”
All that crap they have in cartoons in the Saturday Evening Post and all showing guys on street corners looking sore as hell because their dates are late - that’s bunk. If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?
If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good any more.
I sort of started lighting matches. I do that quite a lot when I’m in a certain mood. I sort of let them burn down till I can’t hold them any more, then I drop them in the ashtray. It’s a nervous habit.
“I don’t get hardly anything out of anything. I’m in bad shape. I’m in lousy shape.”
I have one of these very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.
I swear to God I’m a madman.
It’s a funny thing about girls. Every time you mention some guy that’s strictly a bastard - very mean, or very conceited and all - and when you mention it to the girl, she’ll tell you he has an inferiority complex. Maybe he has, but that still doesn’t keep him from being a bastard, in my opinion. Girls. You never know what they’re going to think.
The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, n matter how bid a bastard he is, they’ll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don’t like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they’ll say he’s conceited. Even smart girls do it.
You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they’re mean bastards at heart.
That’s the trouble with these intellectual guys. They never want to discuss anything serious unless they feel like it.
These intellectual guys don’t like to have an intellectual conversation with you unless they’re running the whole thing.
People never give your message to anybody.
Then something horrible happened just as I got in the park. I dropped old Phoebe’s record. It broke into about fifty pieces. It was in a big envelope and all, but it broke anyway. I damn near cried, it made me feel so terrible, but all I did was, I took the pieces out of the envelope and put them in my coat pocket. They weren’t any good for anything, but I didn’t feel like just throwing them away. Then I went in the park. Boy, was it dark.
Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.
It’s not too bad when the sun’s out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out.
Finally what I figured I’d do, I figured I’d better sneak hone and see her, in case I died and all. I had my door key with me and all, and I figured what I’d do, I’d sneak in the apartment, very quiet and all, and just sort of chew the fat with her for a while.
It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them it.
It was one of the worst schools I ever went to. It was full of phonies.
You don’t have to be a bad guy to depress somebody - you can be a good guy and do it All you have to do to depress somebody is give them a lot of phony advice while you’re looking for your initials in some can door.
Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake - especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all.
If somebody at least listens, it’s not too bad.
“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,’” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little lids, and nobody around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”
It’s nice when somebody tells you about their uncle.
Lots of tine you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you.
I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.
People are mostly hot to have a discussion when you’re not.
“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
“One of these days,” he said, “you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there.”
“Once you have a fair idea where you want to go, your first move will be to apply yourself in school. You’ll have to. You’re a student - whether the idea appeals to you or not. You’re in love with knowledge.”
“You’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.”
If you get very depressed about something, it’s hard as hell to swallow.
All of a sudden, something very spooky started happening. Every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam curb, I had this feeling that I’d neve get to the other side of the street.
Every time I’d get to the end of a b lock I’d make believe I was talking to my brother Allie, I’d say to him, ‘Allie, don’t let me disappear.” … And then when I’d reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I’d thank him.
I knew the part ab out pretending |I was a deaf-mute was crazy, but I liked thinking about it anyway,
You hate to tell new stuff to somebody a round a hundred years old. They don’t like to hear it.
I hate it when somebody yells “Good luck!” at me when I’m leaving somewhere. It’s depressing.
If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.
You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose.
Kids are funny. You have to watch what you’re doing.
How do you know what you’re going to do till you do it?
Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.