He had more books than I’ve ever seen in all my life – four walls, and such books as the Apocryphal Something-or-Other in ten volumes. He played Verdi operas and pantomined them in his pajamas with a great rip down the back. He didn’t give a damn about anything. He is a great scholar who goes reeling down the New York waterfront with original seventeenth-century musical manuscripts under his arm, shouting. He crawls like a big spider through the streets. His excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light. He rolled his neck in spastic ecstasy. He lisped, he writhed, he flopped, he moaned, he howled, he fell back in despair. He could hardly get a word out, he was so excited with life. Dean stood before him with head bowed, repeating over and over again, “Yes…Yes…Yes.” He took me into a corner. “That Rollo Greb is the greatest, most wonderful of all. That’s what I was trying to tell you – that’s what I want to be. I want to be like him. He’s never hung-up, he goes every direction, he lets it all out, he knows time, he has nothing to do but rock back and forth. Man, he’s the end! You see, if you go like him all the time you’ll finally get it.”
“IT! IT! I’ll tell you – now no time, we have no time now.”
Dean rushed back to watch Rollo Greb some more.
Excerpt from On the Road by Jack Kerouac.