Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't follow leaders - watch the parking meters, If a body meets a body, and The Scotch and Soda

Apparently Oklahoma once had a huge street parking problem because on this date in 1935, the world's very first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City.


On this day in 1951, J. D. Salinger's great work, The Catcher in the Rye is published. The tale of then 16 year old Holden Caulfield being expelled from yet another boarding school and deciding to spend the weekend in New York City before returning home to tell his parents, is as relevant today as it was in 1951 - when it also banned from many schools and libraries.  In it - Holden smokes cigarettes, drinks scotch and sodas and tries to have sex with a prostitute, giving us insight into the confused state of affairs known as coming of age.

The Historical Inebriant:  The Scotch and Soda

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They're nice and all, I'm not saying that—but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.
The Catcher in the Rye (1951), J. D. Salinger

He was singing that song, "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." He had a pretty little voice too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you could tell. The cars zoomed by, the brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him, and he kept on walking next to the kerb and singing "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed anymore.

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's 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 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.

The Catcher in the Rye (1951), J. D. Salinger

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