I went to renew my poetic license today, but they said first I need to do an I exam


Joseph Heller is a kind of god. He wrote what for a decade was my bible, catch 22. (the new testament was Samuel Shem's "house of god")



You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  

Joseph Heller – the catcher in the 22

Joseph Heller is a kind of god. He wrote what for a decade was my bible, catch 22. (the new testament was Samuel Shem's "house of god")

The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him."

It was. The unofficial bible. We swore by it. Did I mention I was a soldier at the time? that changes everything. The deck is reshuffled and there is a completely new hand to play. The rules of the game were boring and didn’t really fit our plan, which was not to die, so 'catch 22' was the alternative that kept us insane.


There was only one catch and that was Catch-22. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them.

If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to"


The book was passed from hand to hand, from flashlight to flashlight, getting ragged as the platoons went by, but there was always a new copy coming out of someone's kit bag, another copy for the new recruits. Another holy scripture for the people, not to save their should, god forbid, but to ease their mental suffering as their minds overheat trying to figure out what on earth are they doing and for what reason.

Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck."

A lot of writers invent worlds. A lot of writers invent stories, some even invent languages , but Heller never invented anything but a new logic. A military survivalist twisted logic, that makes the real twisted logic of being a soldier almost redundant. It was like a field book for keeping sane in a system that by definition is not normal. Or keeping insane in a world that has no sense of humor.


It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice.

Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character."


I still know at least twenty quotes and phrases from the book. Well, there is not really a lot to do in these long nights in a tent.
I think that in every platoon there is at least one person who calculated how far it would be to swim to Norway.
Considering we were in the middle east at the time, it was quite a swim, and considering we were in the infantry might have also created a small problem in the abandoning the plane and parachuting into the ocean part of the plan. But we did look into it. You never know. And they have smoked salmon.

Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."


And that was Heller at his best. You never know. and what seemed impossible, while you knew it was just improbable is suddenly the norm and anything that is even slightly normal is received with that tilt of the head dogs do when they try to understand what you are yapping about.
Rise above principle and do what's right."

He was funny, and he was wise, and he was right. Well, in a twisted kind of way of course. But mainly, he knew people, and he knew how we think, why we act.

Everybody is as unstable as water."

For the rest of his career, Joseph Heller hasn’t written anything as good as "catch 22" and it seems i am not the first one to notice.


When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22 I'm tempted to reply, "Who has?"