I had to chuckle when I cracked open the quote book to see what I’d be writing about this week, only to discover it’s from the book Catch-22, by Jospeh Heller – which I’d just started reading yet again only a couple of days earlier.
I guess you could call this a planned quote. Those were somewhat common in the early days of the quote book. I’d read books I’d read before, and watch movies and TV shows I’d seen before, specifically because there was something in them that I wanted to include in the book. They tend to be quotes of the iconic variety.
The quote I chose from Catch-22 goes deeper, though. The iconic part is simply calling one of life’s contradictions a Catch-22. This provides an explanation as to what that actually means, using a specific example appropriate to the book’s setting in a wartime air squadron.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. 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.
It must be a pretty heady feeling, being an artist whose work is so relatable that it becomes part of our everyday lexicon.
To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.