Monday, October 22, 2007

Catch-22 quotes

Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.


Now, men, don't misunderstand me. This is all voluntary, of course. I'd be the last colonel in the world to order you to go to that U.S.O show and have a good time, but I want every one of you who isn't sick enough to be in hospital to go to that U.S.O. show right now and have a good time, and that's an order!"


Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. "Is Orr crazy?"

"He sure is," Doc Daneeka said.

"Can you ground him?"

"I sure can but first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule."

"Then why doesn't he ask you to?"

"Because he's crazy," Doc Daneeka said. "He has to be crazy to keep flying combat missions after all the close calls he's had. Sure I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to."

"That's all he has to do to be grounded?"

"That's all. Let him ask me."

"And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked.

"No, then I can't ground him."

"You mean there's a catch?"

"Sure there is a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."


"What would they do to me," he asked in confidential tones, "if I refuse to fly them?"

"We'd probably shoot you," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen replied.

"We?" Yossarian cried in surprise. "What do you mean we? Since when are you on their side?"

"If you're going to be shot, whose side do you expect me to be on?" ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen retorted.


"Give Yossarian all the dried fruit and fruit juices he wants," Doc Daneeka had written. "He says he has a liver condition."

"A letter like this, " Milo mumbled despondently, "could ruin any mess officer in the world." Milo had come to Yossarian's tent to read the letter again, following his carton of lost provisions across the squadron like a mourner. "I have to give you as much as you ask for. Why, the letter doesn't even say you have to eat it all by yourself."

"And it's a good thing it doesn't," Yossarian told him, "because I never eat any of it. I have a liver condition."

"Oh yes, I forgot," said Milo, in a voice lowered derentially. "Is it bad?"

"Just bad enough," Yossarian answered cheerfully.

"I see," said Milo. "What does that mean?"

"It means it couldn't be better..."

"I don't think I understand."

"... without being worse. Now do you see?"

"Yes, now I see. But I still don't think I understand."

"Well, don't let it trouble you. Let it trouble me. You see, I don't really have a liver condition. I've just got the symptoms. I have a Garnett-Fleischaker syndrome."

"I see," said Milo. "And what is a Garnett-Fleischaker syndrome?"

"A liver condition."


What's his name?"

"Yossarian, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.

"Yes, Yossarian. That's right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name? Yossarian? What the hell kind of name is Yossarian?"

Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. "It's Yossarian's name, sir," he explained


"About how long will I have to wait before I can go in to see the major?"

"Just until he goes out to lunch," Sergeant Towser replied. "Then you can go right in."

"But he won't be in there then. Will he?"

"No, sir. Major Major won't be back in his office until after lunch."

"I see," Appleby decided uncertainly.


"I used to get a big kick out of saving people's lives. Now I wonder what the hell's the point, since they all have to die anyway."


"He has a happy facility for getting different people to agree what a prick he is,"


I'm asking you to save my life."

"It's not my business to save lives," Doc Daneeka retorted sullenly.

"What is your business?"

"I don't know what my business is. All they ever told me was to uphold the ethics of my profession and never give testomony against another physician."

Why can't we all pray for something good, like a tighter bomb pattern, for example? Couldn't we pray for a tighter bomb pattern?"

"General Peckem even recommends that we send our men into combat in full-dress uniform so they'll make a good impression on the enemy when they're shot down."

"There is nothing so absurd about risking your life for your country," [Nately] declared.

"Isn't there?" asked the old man. "What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England. Americans are dying for America. Germans are dying for Germany. Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Sure so many countries can't all be worth dying for."

"Anything worth living for," Nately said, "is worth dying for."

"And anything worth dying for," answered the sacrilegious old man, "is certainly worth living for."


"I suppose you just don't care if you lose your leg, do you?"

"It's my leg."

"It certainly is not your leg!" Nurse Cramer retorted. "That leg belongs to the U.S. government. It's no different than a gear or a bedpan. The Army has invested a lot of money to make you an airplane pilot, and you've got no right to disobey the doctor's order."


"While none of the work we do is very important, it is important that we do a great deal of it"

Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka:
Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father or brother was killed, wounded or reported missing in action.

Chaplain," he asked casually, "of what religious persuasion are you?"

"I'm an Anabaptist, sir."

"That's a pretty suspicious religion, isn't it?"

"Suspicious?" inquired the chaplain in a kind of innocent daze. "Why, sir?"

"Well, I don't know a thing about it. You'll have to admit that, won't you? Doesn't that make it pretty suspicious?"

"Why'd you steal it [plum tomato] from Colonel Cathcart if you didn't want it?"

"I didn't steal it from Colonel Cathcart!"

"Then why are you so guilty, if you didn't steal it?"

"I'm not guilty!"

"Then why would we be questioning you if you weren't guilty?"

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