Franny suddenly tried with one hand alone to get a light for her cigarette. She opened the matchbox compartment successfully, but one inept scratch of a match sent the box to the floor. She bent quickly and picked up the box, and let the spilled matches lie.
The voice at the other end came through again. "I remember about the fifth time I ever went on 'Wise Child.' I subbed for Walt a few times when he was in a cast--remember when he was in that cast? Anyway, I started bitching one night before the broadcast. Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it. He never did tell me who the Fat Lady was, but I shined my shoes for the Fat Lady every time I ever went on the air again--all the years you and I were on the program together, if you remember. I don't think I missed more than just a couple of times. This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind. I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night. I figured the heat was terrible, and she probably had cancer, and--I don't know. Anyway, it seemed goddam clear why Seymour wanted me to shine my shoes when I went on the air. It made sense"
******** He says the only people he ever really wants to meet for a drink somewhere are all either dead or unavailable. He says he never even wants to have lunch with anybody, even, unless he thinks there's a good chance it's going to turn out to be Jesus, the person--or the Buddha, or Hui-neng, or Shankaracharya, or somebody like that.
******** "Just don't smile at me, please," Zooey said, evenly, and walked out of the vicinity. "Seymour was always doing that to me. This goddam house is lousy with smilers."
You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word 'wisdom' mentioned!