Archive for January, 2010

A Rare Re-Post in Honor of the Late Sallinger.

About two weeks ago, Matt and I went on a much-needed vacation to Mexico. I was looking forward to eating too much at our all-inclusive resort and basking in the hot Cancun sun while washing away the swine flu with every hand-wash. And as part of my normal vacation ritual, I brought along a couple of books to read. (I am on this kick where I’m trying to read classics.) So as I was browsing the “required summer reading” shelves at Barnes and Noble, I ran across The Catcher in the Rye.

This particular edition of the “American Classic” didn’t have a synopsis printed on the back or on the inside cover and I decided to take a gamble. I had no idea what the book was about, but I knew it was a classic and the first page caught my attention:

“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, 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.”

The story opens with a depressed and angry 16-year old named Holden Caulfield, who has just been kicked out of his third or fourth prep school. The remaining 100 or so pages follow his trip home to face his parents who Holden expects will be very disappointed with him, yet again. The more the story continued to do nothing but follow this kid, the more engrossed I became. I empathized with this “screw up” who was terribly whiny and foul-mouthed. And as he described every adult he saw as a “phoney,” I began to adopt his cynical views and became a little unhappy– even on vacation. If I hadn’t picked up Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons before we left, I might be in therapy right now.

The more I tried to figure out why The Catcher in the Rye was such an American Classic, the more baffled I became. And now, after two weeks of reflection, I have decided that this story of a young man’s angst must have been cutting-edge in the 1950’s. I’m sure this book was banned not only for the language and the mention of “feeling sexy” around a prostitute, but also because no one in America would have wanted little Johnny to adopt such a negative outlook on life.

All in all, I quite prefer Ferris Bueller’s teen-angst to Holden Caulfield’s. While I can relate with both characters, Ferris provides a more playful and hopeful view of what comes next in life, where Holden just depresses the hell out of you.

In response to all of this, I have begun trying to really focus on the “glass-half-full” approach to life. That, and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons has really brought me out this loathing for all mankind and I’m starting to recover. Tiger Lily to Salinger’s teen angst; it has caused me to focus on being happy.


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This Tiger Lily is dedicated to Jennifer Anniston. (I’m sure she faced off with her Expectations years ago…)

Tonight I attended one of my good friend’s weddings and caught myself really concentrating on what the preacher had to say. He gave a homily of sorts, but on the shorter side, (which we all can appreciate) and then ended the service with a simple prayer. He prayed that the couple would experience “peace” in their marriage.

Well, HELLO! Did the preacher say that at my wedding and I just wasn’t paying attention? Tonight, it finally hit me. I’ve been expecting perfection all my life, and I’m not just talking about my marriage– which is actually pretty great, thanks to my husband– But instead, I should have been asking God for “peace” instead of expecting Him to deliver “perfection.”

So what are these things, “EXPECTATIONS”? And why have mine been so out of control? I guess I stubbornly expect everything to be perfect, to be on my timeline and to work out beautifully. But tonight, I began to realize that I should be praying for more “peace” as life usually delivers the unexpected.

For instance, in 2009:

1. Michael Jackson passed away. Totally unexpected. And, further on this note, I loved This Is It. Also totally unexpected. (If you haven’t seen it, you should. “God bless you.”)

2. Taylor Swift won The Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Have you heard her sing live? Totally unexpected.

She named her album, “Fearless.” Because you would have to be to go to her concert.

3. Oprah announced she will retire. Wait, she’s not God? She won’t live forever? Again, unexpected.

Here she is praying. I guess that should have tipped me off that she wasn’t deity incarnate.

4. The public is now loving Kate and hating Jon. Well you could knock me over with a feather.

5. The Octo-Mom did not sign on for a reality television show. Unexpected.

6. Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. (Settle down everybody, I’m just saying it was unexpected!)

Here he is after that great bank bail-out decision.

So Tiger Lily to Expectations. They almost never turn out the way you planned.

And kudos to Jennifer Anniston. From what I can see, she must have kicked Expectations to the curb and started asking for peace a long time ago.

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