A College Essay.
Hello, whoever you may be. My name is Scott. If you’ve managed to read my letter as far as this here second sentence, please realize that it is an immense miracle. As you’ve found this letter, let me tell you exactly how miraculous it is.
By the time you have found this envelope, I would have tied it to a white balloon and released it from the front porch of my house. Regarding the miracle of you even reading this far, the reasons are this: the letter didn’t land in the lake a few blocks from my house, on top of a house, or in anybody else’s hands in this city where 1.3 million people live. I doubt the balloon has made it this far, but at least you have my letter. And I’m glad you picked up this envelope marked “For You”, because it most certainly is.
I am currently in the process of reading The Catcher in the Rye. It is supposedly a very big deal, as you may be aware. I’ve heard that it basically epitomizes teen angst in literature, but if I can be honest, I’m six chapters in and I’m not really feeling it. Maybe it’s too soon to judge the entire book, but it feels like the book is trying too hard to be human. Holden Caulfield keeps saying “goddam” and “crap” like every other paragraph, as if this systematically placed vulgarity helps me to relate to him. Maybe angst in the 50’s was different. Not so violent, but at the same time, not violent enough. If I were Holden Caulfield, I’d probably say “fuckity fuckshit fucking piece of fuck” every other sentence, because I don’t think you could say “goddam” and feel any sort of emotional release, no matter how much you say it. I apologize for the vulgarity, You, but by now maybe you’ve figured out that I’m a bit of a modern day Holden Caulfield. From the six chapters I’ve read, I feel that Holden is very frustrated from living on other people’s expectations. It just feels like the author was too afraid to be brutally vulgar, and in that regard, it makes ME frustrated. I wish Holden would say fuck more often. Maybe he does later in the book, but not so far. In fact, I change my mind. I’ve just come to the realization that the book relates to me more than I thought. Holden is frustrated, I am frustrated. This is either the silliest revelation I’ve ever had in my life or J.D. Salinger is a genius. Damn me for being such a one-dimensional teenager. I almost don’t know what to write on this paper now that I’ve already exhausted my angst.
On this second page, however, I’ll be a little less negative. I plan on attaching this letter to a white balloon and releasing it from my front porch tomorrow morning. I was feeling lonely, but I’m trying to imagine who you are, how your face looked when you saw my envelope, or what your first thoughts may have been when you started reading. It makes me smile. I will not put any information in this letter, so it will be impossible for you to ever meet me, whoever you may be. But I’d like you to know that writing to you has sure made me feel a lot better. Ha, I’m becoming more and more of a teenager with every word that I write down. I suppose I know now that things get better. At least when I’ll be able to talk with somebody like you. You’re a great friend, whoever you may be.
P.S. I hope you write your own letter and tie it to a balloon. If you have a problem of any sort, it’s astoundingly therapeutic.
A story by Lennon Maldonado.
The sci-fi film’s self-aware satire went unrecognized by critics when it came out 16 years ago. Now, some are finally getting the joke.