Washington D.C. -- October 20, 2010 -- 1:15 PM
'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.' Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. "That's some catch, that catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed. -- Joseph Heller
A stylish and pretty blonde lady, in some very classy black boots, who works on the buildng supervision staff here, just asked me a question. How is your (multi-day, very much ado about nothing) meeting going? I replied, "Stifling. Never-ending. Life-threatening." Perhaps that was too strong though. 'Soul-sucking' is the honest reply perhaps. -- She rubbed my upper left arm gently. She looked up. Her right hand lingered on my forearm. I guess she likes me. She offered great eye-contact too. Hmm.
But now: back to the misterable truth of reality. I am struggling. I feel frustrated and angry. Like a biblical troublemaker, I have been known to adopt a role in meetings like a 'voice from the wilderness.' Why are my inclinations, my preferences, my crooked opinions, you know, so different from those of others? Is it as simple as saying most are followers -- cowering settlers -- but some are truly leaders, with vision? No, not so complicated. Sometimes I think it's just that I am not as needy as the average Board meeting-goer
I am thinking about resigning this current Board position of mine. Which would seem to me a bit like a doctor resigning from a case when his/her patient has gone into hospice. Too late to say I'm sorry, and it's almost too late to say goodbye. It's strictly triage time for the organization in question, the one we are examining here. Turn off the lights. Switch off the heating unit. Pull the curtains. Oops, party's over, oops, out of time.
As Joseph Heller once wrote, 'Ekstrom would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to (attend) them -- in good conscience. If he took part willingly in more of them, he was crazy and didn't really have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.'
Yossarian -- and Butch Ekstrom -- was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this improbable clause, this clause known as Catch-22. Yossarian whistled in amazement at the quirky theorem. I'm kinda whistling to myself now too. Sigh. Time to get back into the meeting box.
An addendum: 2 hours later.Virtually the entire group with whom I've been gathered has made a grudging recognition. In essence, it's a reality that I have been naming, in such meetings, since about 2007. Better late than never? Perhaps. I re-learn the power of patience and perseverance in politics -- and a reaffirmation of the truth that only when circumstances get dire enuff, only then, people and things willingly, even abruptly, change.