Rohit's Realm

// / archive / 2003 / 10 / 26 / very-holden-caulfield

October 26, 2003

Very Holden Caulfield

I had a very Holden Caulfield moment today, and no, it did not have anything to do with prostitutes. For those of you who have had your head up up your ass for however many years, Holden Caulfield is the main character of The Catcher in the Rye, every teenager's favorite novel, and JD Salinger's classic angst-ridden adolescent.

I was sitting in the library, trying to memorize every step of glycolysis and the Kreb's cycle, and all the structures, and all the enzymes, when I looked up at the graffiti lining the wall of my cubicle. Most of it was the same bullshit—whining about school, proclamations of azn pride, and of course, the prevalent racism that everyone would like to pretend doesn't exist at Cal. None of this was out of the ordinary, nor was it anything that I could alter, as it had been scratched into the table.

Upon further examination, however, I noticed a small, barely legible phrase on the side. Outlined in faint pencil, it read I hate Cal! For some reason, this bothered me more than what seemed natural. If it had said I hate school, that would have been different. I've had plenty of times where I hate school—in fact, I'm hating school right now. But I've never hated Cal. Berkeley's always been good to me, as an institution, but moreover, as a concept. It's difficult to explain—I don't even think I'm going to try. In any case, I rubbed it out and felt better.

I guess rubbing out a I hate Cal isn't the same as Holden Caulfield rubbing out a fuck so that small children would not see it, but in the end, both were negative messages that were erased. Don't try to read too deep into this story. I'm not an angst-ridden teenager. I just saw some graffiti I did not like and removed it. The parallels, however, were just too poignant to go unnoticed. This is all—back to learning about molecules and shit.


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