There will no doubt be a lot of tributes and appreciations to Salinger in the coming days — a notion that would surely have driven Salinger himself crazy. Here’s Holden, cranky as ever:
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.
But I’d rather remember Salinger (and Holden Caulfield) with the last words to “Catcher in the Rye,” words that signaled Salinger’s future seclusion even as they allowed for the joy and the pain of human connection:
It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
We’ve missed J. D. Salinger for a long time, but now we can bid him farewell and wish him peace.