Well I don’t know what they are around here, but where I come from, a section man’s a person that takes over a class when the professor isn’t there or is busy having a nervous breakdown or is at the dentist or something. He’s usually a graduate student of something. Anyway if it’s a course in Russian Literature, say, he comes in, in his little button-down-collar shirt and striped tie, and starts knocking Turgenev for about a half hour. Then, when he’ finished, when he’s completely ruined Turnenev for you, he starts talking about Stendhal or somebody he wrote his thesis for his M.A. on. Where I go, the English Department has about ten little section men running around ruining things for people, and they’re all so brilliant they can hardly open their mouths–pardon the contradiction. I mean if you get into an argument with them, all they do is get this terribly benign expression on their–
You’ve got a goddamn bug today–you know that? What the hell’s the matter with you anyway?
-Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
This next part I don’t remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddam throat open. Only, I missed. I didn’t connect. All I did was sort of get him on the side of the head or something. It probably hurt him a little bit, but not as much as I wanted. It probably would’ve hurt him a lot, but I did it with my right hand, and I can’t make a good fist with that hand. On account of that injury I told you about.
Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was on the goddam floor and he was sitting on my chest, with his face all red. That is, he had his goddam knees on my chest, and he weighed about a ton. He had hold of my wrists, too, so I couldn’t take another sock at him. I’d’ve killed him.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?” he kept saying, and his stupid race kept getting redder and redder.
It was even depressing out in the street. You couldn’t even hear any cars any more. I got feeling so lonesome and rotten, I even felt like waking Ackley up.
“Hey, Ackley,” I said, in sort of a whisper, so Stradlater couldn’t hear me through
the shower curtain.
Ackley didn’t hear me, though.
He still didn’t hear me. He slept like a rock.
He heard that, all right.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?” he said. “I was asleep, for Chrissake.”
-The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
What the hell’s the matter with you anyway?