Frankly, I don't know what the hell to say to you, Holden.
I have a feeling that you're riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall. But I don't honestly know what kind. . . Are you listening to me?
It may be the kind where, at the age of thirty, you sit in some bar hatingeverybody who comes in looking as if he might have played football in college.
I just don't know. But do you know what I'm driving at, at all?
Then again, you may pick up just enough education to hate people who say, 'It's a secret between he and I.' Or you may end up in some business office, throwing paper clips at the nearest stenographer.
But you're wrong about that hating business. I mean about hating football players and all. You really are. I don't hate too many guys.
After a while, if I didn't see them, if they didn't come in the room, or if I didn't see them in the dining room for a couple of meals, I sort of missed them. I mean I sort of missed them.
What I may do, I may hate them for a little while, like this guy Stradlater I knew at Pencey, and this other boy, Robert Ackley. I hated them once in a while--I admit it--but it doesn't last too long, is what I mean.
All right. Listen to me a minute now . . . I may not word this as memorably as I'd like to, but I'll write you a letter about it in a day or two. Then you can get it all straight. But listen now, anyway.
The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.
This fall I think you're riding for--it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling.
I don't want to scare you, but I can very clearly see you dying nobly, one way or another, for some highly unworthy cause. If I write something down for you, will you read it carefully? And keep it?
You follow me?
Yes, sure I am.
Oddly enough, this wasn't written by a practicing poet. It was written by a psychoanalyst named Wilhelm Stekel. Here's what he--Are you still with me?