I’m not a person who makes a habit of thievery. I am a well-known snoop and gossip, I have a hard time keeping secrets (although I have learned how to make myself forget things in order to do better at this). When I drive, I enjoy speeding, but I rarely drive so this doesn’t matter much. I tell weird little lies for no reason (once I told a stranger at a dance club that I married Jeremy for the Visa, he looked at me with disgust and total belief).
But theft I am not much for. I don’t watch pirated movies (1. because movies should be viewed on the big screen and not all shaky like on the computer and 2. because it’s stealing) and I don’t steal cable (Dana stole the cable in Chicago, not me).
In 1994 though, I did something kind of horrible. I stole a copy of Catcher in the Rye from my high school library. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Like it should be set free, you know? So I slipped it into my bag and walked out with it.
Then I loaned it to my friend Shannon, who loaned it to another friend, who lost it. Karma I guess. Or maybe it was still trying to get free.
I had to buy two more copies before I got one to stick. I can’t, for the life of me remember what happened to copy 2. Probably I loaned it to a boy. You ask for trouble when you loan boys books. You also ask for trouble when you steal from the library in a silly moment of teenage rebellion.
So yesterday the news broke that JD Salinger died at 91 years old. It made me think of stealing that book and the thrill it gave me to just walk out with it. And the thrill it gave me to find it twice more when I wanted to read it over the years. I’m glad he lived a long and good life on his own terms, but I’m still a little sad that he’s gone. It sort of makes me want to steal another copy of the book, I won’t though, I’ll just want to.