Story Sent in by Elizabeth:
Back in college, I met Rich. He was a pretty quiet guy with whom I shared some mutual friends. Back then, I performed guitar at a few local venues, and he surprised me one night by showing up to hear me play. Afterward, I sat down with him at a table to chat, and he asked me out on a date for that forthcoming weekend.
The date started on a windy afternoon. The plan was to walk from campus into town for coffee or an early dinner.
During the walk, I noticed something odd about Rich, and it came up pretty quickly. He'd say, "So, I've started studying for my chemistry final already. I know it's crazy." "I got a B on my last test. It's crazy." "I'm going home for the holidays. I know it's crazy."
His usage of the word "crazy" with every statement was on the order of berserk. When he finally said, "I'm so glad that we're out together. It's fun, and a little crazy," I replied, "Is everything crazy?"
He stopped walking and stared into space, as if actually considering it. He said, "Not everything. Everything is phony, but that's also kind of crazy. It's crazy, you know?"
I asked him, "Did someone read Catcher in the Rye lately?"
He said, "No. Sorry. I don't know what a catcher in the rye is." He hurried on, and I followed him.
At dinner, he continued with his Holden Caulfield-like tirades. "You know what I hate?" he asked me, "Phony people. They're everywhere. It's crazy."
I interjected, "You mean, people trying to be something that they're not?"
"Exactly. It's crazy."
"Like Holden Caulfield?"
"Is he in your math class? I don't know him. He crazy?"
I frowned at Rich. Why he was pretending to be Holden, I couldn't really guess. What clinched it was when he asked me about my work with kids.
"You've worked with kids?" he asked.
"I volunteered at my old nursery school through a high school program. I–"
"I've worked with kids. It's crazy. In fact, I've saved a few of their lives."
Finally, something redeemable. "You have? Really?"
"Yeah. I was advisor on a ball team and we'd always play on a cliff. The kids would always hit the ball too far and I'd have to stop them from falling off. I know it's crazy–"
I laughed, long and hard. "Oh my God, you're so playing Holden Caulfield. Why?"
He shifted around in his seat. "I have no idea who this Holden guy is. If you're so into him, maybe you should be out on a date with him, instead."
"I am on a date with him," I giggled, "Can't you just be yourself?"
"I'm not this Holden guy," he said, "I have no idea who he is, or what this catcher in the rye bread is all about. Sounds crazy, and I'll bet Holden's a phony."
I laughed again. He repeated, "Holden's a phony. So you see, I can't be him."
Dinner was pretty quiet after that. I made the best of it, and afterward, when he suggested going back to his room to watch a movie, I told him that I couldn't, that I had to call my little brother Allie and sister Phoebe.
He nodded and replied, "You have siblings named Allie and Phoebe? That's crazy. I have siblings with the same names. That's crazy."
"It sure is. Good night."
We didn't go out on any other dates, but I'm wondering that if I had, if he would continue to play as Holden or if he would've been a different character from literature. Crazy.
Story Sent in by Elizabeth: