Monday, February 23, 2015

Ask an International Guy of Mystery

Dear International Guy of Mystery,
My favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye, and I've always wondered about its author, J.D. Salinger. Why is he such a recluse? How can he hide from the public so well? I heard rumors that he was a Hindu and a doughnut freak. Is this true? What ever happened to him?
Mystified in Merlin, Oregon

Dear Mystified,
He died.
But as it turns out, I can shed some light on your questions because I found him several years ago at a deli in Cornish, New Hampshire. Rumor had it that he would occasionally appear there, just long enough to get not doughnuts, but doughnut holes (which makes me think you are right about the Hinduism). For a few days I hung out at the deli, studying the faces of its patrons to compare with the photos I had of Salinger, when I suddenly spotted a man in disguise. This old fellow was wearing a fairly obvious fake nose and mustache attached to plastic eyeglasses. I decided to out him in a clever way by singing this lyric, to the tune of a song by the Eagles:
"You can't hide, you're lionized!"
The man stared at me in confusion over his salami sandwich. "It's a great day for bananafish," I added before singing my lyric again. Then the man's face creased in a huge smile as he sang, "And your smile is a thin disguise," in a thick Italian accent. When he said my name and stood to give me a hug, I realized that he wasn't Salinger. He was my third cousin, Ludovico.
"You're a goddamned prince," an old man muttered to me as he left the deli, and it took me a moment to realize that I had just seen one of America's greatest authors slink past with a bag of doughnut holes.
The salami, by the way, was thinly sliced but complex and intricately layered.
International Guy of Mystery

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