Three years ago, reclusive author J.D. Salinger approached us to offer his first interview since 1980. The interview was contingent upon two things: 1. We start a humor magazine in the winter of ’09. 2. We wait to release the interview until after he dies. Salinger died yesterday at age 91. He met us in 2006 at a coffee shop in Cornish, New Hampshire.
Whim: So. How’ve you been?
J.D. Salinger: In all honesty, I’ve been great.
JDS: Yes. I get up every day at 6, go for a run, and come back to my desk and write for a few hours. Sometimes until sundown if I get carried away.
W: You’ve been writing all this time?
W: But you haven’t published anything for 40 years.
JDS: Actually … that’s not true. Tell me: are you familiar with Harry Potter?
W: Sure. Are you telling me …?
JDS: Yep. I wrote the second one, Chamber of Secrets. Come to think of it, I wrote all of the books after that.
JDS: Yep. You honestly think that phony Jo Rowling knew how to string a sentence together?
W: Ha, wow.
JDS: You seem shocked.
W: It’s a pretty stunning revelation. Like finding out Harper Lee wrote Twilight.
JDS: That was me, too.
W: You wrote Twilight?!
JDS: Just the book, not the film. Let’s just say that this Pattinson fellow is not how I pictured Edward. Ok?
W: Wow. Ok. What else… have you been working on anything original during this time?
JDS: Oh, sure, sure. But honestly, the contract work really piles up.
W: Contract work?
JDS: NBC, ABC, Sony Universal. Hell, why do you think it takes so long between seasons of Lost?
W: You write for Lost?
JDS: Write for Lost? I created Lost. Hey, that smoke monster was quite the twist, wasn’t it?
W: Oh, come on. I suppose you also wrote Seinfeld, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Godfather Trilogy, too.
JDS: Encyclopedia Brown was originally going to be a member of the Glass family. Their know-it-all cousin Ralphie. As for Seinfeld, technically, I was a just supervising producer, though I’d do punch up from time to time. Pynchon actually wrote most of the episodes.
W: You might as well claim “Hey Ya” while you’re at it.
JDS: Ah, right. I made great use of simile on that one.
W: I don’t believe any of this. How do I even know you’re really J.D. Salinger?
JDS: Of course I am.
W: Prove it.
JDS (fishing in his pockets for ID): Uh … phony. Um … bananafish.
W: Shouting your catchphrases isn’t going to work.
JDS (sighing): You know, this is why I don’t do this kind of thing. I feel sorry as hell for people like you.
[With a poof, J.D. Salinger disappears into a cloud of smoke.]