How meeting JD Salinger didn’t change my life

And what, exactly, is it that J.D. Salinger has to do with marketing communications?

Well, if you’ll remember, the opening line of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” began, “There were Ninety-seven New York advertising men in the hotel, and, the way they were monopolizing the long-distance lines…”

The death of JD Salinger earlier this week effected me profoundly.

I had met Salinger during a pivotal time in my life.  I had just finished my MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and found a wonderful job at the archaic literary agency, Harold Ober Associates.

That was in 1985, when Harold Ober was run by the grande dame , the elegant Miss Dorothy Olding.  The agency was a relic already, more like the Old Curiosity Shop than a modern literary agency.  There were still dictaphones, a telex machine, carbon paper everywhere and not a photocopier in sight.

It was that April, April 12th, to be more specific, when I had the opportunity to meet J.D. Salinger himself.  And the end of that story has something to do with me joining in with those New York advertising men who monopolize phone lines.

For the full story, well, that is something that you and I will have to discuss at lunch or over a drink some day.

You may be gone, Jerry, but your spirit is still with us.

PS — Yes, that is his real signature.

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