Holden's teacher, Old Spencer, poses this question to Holden at the beginning of Catcher. Spencer's trying to "put some sense" into Holden's head. After all, Pencey Prep is the latest in a line of schools Holden has flunked out of. The future is not in the forefront of Holden's priorities, to say the least.
I am the exact opposite of Holden. The future is constantly in my thoughts. And that is just as unhealthy as not giving a crap about the future. It causes sleepless nights. Anxious days. Distraction. Unhappiness. Plagues of frogs. You get the idea.
My current cause for anxiety is a classroom observation. As part of my yearly evaluation at the university, I must be observed by a full-time faculty member. My number is up this Thursday. I will have a guest in the back of my classroom, taking notes, watching my every move, waiting for me to make mistakes.
OK, I'm exaggerating. The guy is simply there to do a job. He told me not to get worried or stressed. However, being the kind of person I am (Type AAA), I can't really follow his advice. I have to prepare a lesson plan that makes me look good. Or at least intelligent. At the very least, I want to look like I know what I'm doing.
That's my goal. That's my prayer.
Sometimes I think of You as the guy in the back of my classroom, taking notes on my screwed-up life. That's not a very comforting image, and it's probably not very accurate, to boot. Unfortunately, I grew up eating helpings of guilt every day. I can't help myself.
In the next couple of days, could You please help me out? I need some strength and courage to make it through my class observation on Thursday. I'm a good teacher. I know that. I shouldn't be worried. I know that, too. But, again, I can't help myself. I'm hardwired for worry, stress. I can't help myself.
So, strength. Give me strength. And confidence. I could use some of that, too. Strength and confidence. You did it for Moses.
Your loving child,
|Chapter One: How to Not Shit Yourself|