Yossarian Part Seven
This is part seven of an appreciation of Catch 22. This is the last installment of the series. Parts one, two, three, four, five, and six precede it. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”..
XXXVII General Scheisskopf PG read chapter forty two, page 472, last night. What might be the longest read ever is over. This is the third attempt at reading Catch 22, and will probably be the last. A fourth reading will not be needed, although dwelling on a few selected parts might be fun. The legend is that a young lady told William Faulkner that she had read Sanctuary four times, and that she did not understand it. The author told her to read it a fifth time. When he heard the word fifth, he got a drink.
When you read a book, the unsung hero is the bookmark. They can be a fancy gift, or a handy scrap of paper. The idea is to mark the place where you finish reading, so you can pick up where you left off. The abbreviation bm is not appreciated.
The bookmark PG used for Catch 22 was in the book when he started the third reading. It is hospital green, and is four inches by five inches. The word MEMO is printed in red letters at the top. The logo for Pro Copy Services is at the bottom, along with their address on Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta. The phone number has a 404 area code, which is a clue to the age of this document. Atlanta went to multiple area codes in the early nineties, and anything OTP is 770. (There are a few exceptions. Chamblee is ITP, and yet was included in the 770 new wave.)
The MEMO sheet is from the shaky days at Redo Blue on Dunwoody Place. In those days, PG operated a Printfold blueprint machine, which was named Brunhilda. The other machine was Aretha. There was a telephone stand, which was a wooden column, made to appear like something from a Greek temple. PG would pick up the phone, and the customer would tell him to send a driver to get a job. This is an important part of the reprographic business.
PG learned very early to write down pickups. His memory, while pretty good for a chronic pothead, simply does not work all the time. If you write something down, and forget to tell the dispatcher, you can look at the paper later. Your memory will be instantly restored. A piece of paper does not forget.
This was a very serious problem with the bully for Jesus. He trusted G-d to help him remember to tell the dispatcher. About once a week, there would be a call from the customer. “I called for a pickup, but no one is here” “Who did you talk to?” “That guy that is always preaching”. A written note is more effective than prayer.
The bookmark was created long before the the bully for Jesus caused his turmoil. There are five pickups written down on it. At 11:10, Brennean Beer Gorman called. They were building an office near Perimeter Center, and sent a man named Charley Ginste to supervise the field operation. BBG was a New York firm. The way Mr. Ginste talked reflected this.
The second pickup was at 11:45. It was Nancy, at WW. This would be Weaver Withers. They designed shopping centers. John Weaver was a legend in the Atlanta architecture industry. He was described as a typical architectural tyrant, always threatening to quit and go sell vacuum cleaners.
The third pickup was from L.J. Hooker, at Live Oak Parkway. It was at 12:00. At 3:00, there was another pickup for L.J.Hooker in Norcross. This was probably the same office. L.J. Hooker was an Australian company, which built a lot of stuff around Atlanta. They bought a couple of blocks on Peachtree Street, between 10th and 11th. This was the heart of the Strip. The plan was to build a super center of some sort, and one day they tore down everything standing on that block. Soon after, the financing for that project evaporated, and the land was a red clay mudpile for ten years.
The last pickup was at 3:10. It was from Bob Gwinn, at a company called Gemcraft. This was the type of company that would drive a blueprinter crazy. They had a special size paper, which you had to order, and could not use for any other customer. They had goofy jobs, where you would run a few sets, replace this original with that original, and run a few more sets. They finally went out of business.
When PG went to another division of Redo Blue, he helped with an inventory. He saw a few packs of the paper that only Gemcraft used. The branch manager said, “they only got us for twenty five dollars”.
PG stuck his foot in his mouth once with Gemcraft. There was a lady who answered the phones, who we will call Sally. PG was talking to Sally, and made a comment about the pot calling the kettle black. Later, PG was talking to one of the drivers, and asked what Sally looked like. “Well, she’s black.”
For those of you who want to discuss Catch 22, Chapter XXXVII is very short. It is the return of Scheisspof, who is now a General. He still likes military parades. Mrs. Sheisskopf is left behind in the states, which means the whores in Rome have less competition. In case you were not paying attention earlier, Scheisskopf means shithead in German.
XXXVIII Kid Sister This is another weird chapter. The motto of this blog used to be a quote from Hunter S. Thompson. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. The problem was, PG spelled a key word wierd. One day, there was an email correcting his error. The name on the email was the same as the paper boy, who was a year older than PG and would tell the kids about the horrors of eighth grade gym at Cross Keys. It wasn’t the same person.
PG thought that was awfully picky. He was quoting Hunter S. Thompson, and spelled weird incorrectly. Of course, it does matter, and the word was corrected. Just remember, it takes we to be weird.
One of the bosses at Redo Blue was addicted to cliches. Whenever someone used the word me in his presence, the boss would interrupt him and say “this isn’t a me company this is a we company”.
Getting back to the book, Yossarian has decided not to fly anymore missions. Colonel Somethingoranother decides to send him to the whorehouses of Rome. Yossarian finds the whore who loved Nately, and tells her of his death. The whore, who apparently does not have a name, does not take the news well. She tries to stab Yossarian with a bread knife.
The concept of Nately’s whore trying to kill Yossarian continues for the rest of the book. She follows him back to the base, and someone takes her to Northern Italy, straps a parachute on her, and throws her out of the plane. A few days later, NW is back on the base, trying to kill Yossarian. PG suspects that Mr. Heller was having a tough time tying up the loose ends of the story, and had to get creative. It makes for good reading, but you need to disconnect your reality meter.
Unplugging the reality detector is a good idea when dealing with Bret Easton Ellis. He hit the big time with “Less Than Zero” extended his fifteen minutes with “American Psycho”. (with the help of a brilliant marketing campaign) He has written a few more books. The Chamblee library has some of his novels, and they are fun to read. Those characters, and probably Mr. Ellis, do more cocaine in fifteen minutes, before breakfast, than PG has done in his life.
Lately, BEE has become a star twitterwit. He shares these 140 character gems with anyone bored enough to read them. If you get lazy, you can always skip ahead.
@BretEastonEllis And “Breaking Bad” is the most overrated TV series in the history of television. Even though I want to bang the kid with cerebral palsy.
@BretEastonEllis Billy Wilder’s belief that screenplay is ALL is what limits him as a great filmmaker. Why so many artists go with this idea is depressing.
@BretEastonEllis It’s what makes filmmakers and screenwriters kneel at the alter of Billy Wilder. The flaw of his movies is that script is God. It’s NOT.
@BretEastonEllis The fallacy of the theory that TV is better than the best movies is that people believe that WRITING is EVERYTHING when in fact it isn’t.
@BretEastonEllis And please don’t use “The Wire” as an example. Yes, it’s the greatest TV series ever made. But it’s a TV series. It’s not “Vertigo” guys…
@BretEastonEllis Empire irony: Twin Peaks. Post-Empire earnestness: The Killing. I’m not sure which one is more misguided. Insomnia and Ambien: key factors.
@BretEastonEllis Insomnia encourages binge-TV-watching of The Killing and because I’m an addict I’ll have to watch the entire 1st season in the next 5 hours.
@BretEastonEllis Louie hits its third season stride in episodes 4 and 5 where Parker Posey gives an astonishing performance. Ignore earlier comments. Ambien.
@BretEastonEllis Note to self: do NOT take Ambien because of current insomnia situation and start tweeting about favorite records from the 1970s. Delete.
@BretEastonEllis Fifty Shades of Grey: during meeting someone said maybe a female screenwriter would work better. “But I AM a female screenwriter!” I gasped.
@BenjoDiMeo Got 50 Shades of Grey just cause @BretEastonEllis is tweeting everyday bout it. I’ll be damned if this isnt the worst book I’ve ever read
@olilyttelton Is Bret Easton Ellis trying to break some kind of world record for being wrong about the most things in the shortest space of time?
@mrseanpatton @BretEastonEllis hey you should write another novel instead of tweeting your opinion of TV shows. Seriously.
@HrtySpice following Bret Easton Ellis on twitter is a serious excercise in patience and hair removal
XXXIX The Eternal City If Federico Fellini was filming Catch 22, it would have a scene like this chapter. Fellini films were always about an hour too long, and would have been more enjoyable with a box office minded suit editing them.
Yossarian is worried about the kid sister of Nately’s whore. He goes to Rome, without a pass, to try and find her. Milo is going to help, but he is distracted by the prospect of making money selling illegal tobacco. What’s good for M&M Enterprises is good for the country.
Rome is a pretty gnarly place in this chapter. The whorehouse has been broken up, by officials claiming Catch 22 as their justification. The whores are scattered around town, the old man is dead, and the old lady is in shock. Yossarian leaves the house to go into the streets, where rape, murder, and dog beating are happening everywhere. Mike Vick is running for a touchdown, only to have it called back for Catch 22 before the snap.
Yossarian goes by another house, and sees a familiar face, laying dead in the street. It seems like Aarfy was in the house, having raped the lady, and killed her by defenestration. Yossarian is horrified, and goes into the house to berate Aarfy.
Soon military police are knocking on the door. They apologize to Aarfy for bothering him, and arrest Yossarian for being AWOL. When Yossarian gets back to the base, Colonel Korn announces that Yossarian is going home.
PG participates in a group called Gay Spirit Visions. The “mission statement” of this group says “We are committed to creating safe, sacred space that is open to all spiritual paths,” A few years ago, there was a controversy about having a Christian workshop at a retreat. To PG the inclusion of the Christian path would compromise the safe space. Here are some of the postings.
chamblee54 Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:32 am
A few months ago, there was an issue over alcohol at potluck suppers. It seems as though some of our brethren are “in recovery” and do not wish to be around demon rum. This was no sacrifice to me, as I am a retired drinker. However, my sobriety is not threatened by other people drinking, and I would hate to tell someone else that they could not imbibe because of my drinking problem.
Now, how does this relate to Jesus Worship? To me, Jesus and Alcohol are very similar. Some can use either “substance” in moderation. Some lose control and do horrible things.
There is a third similarity of Jesus and Alcohol….neither one works for me.
This is a very emotional, touchy, non rational issue. When I saw the picture of Jesus on the cover of the Visionary, I felt a kick in my gut. My negative feelings toward Jesus are that strong. Just hearing the name Jesus ( with or without the Southern Accent) reminds me of the threats, verbal abuse, and humiliation I have suffered in his name.
Maybe we need to examine this policy of being open to all paths.
Jesus is not just another religion. He is the dominant religion in our culture, and has hurt many of us deeply. If we are to invite Jesus into our circle, we should do it very carefully.
What Would Jesus Do? Go to the water cooler and get a glass of wine.
jaxhairyman2Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:18 pm
THAT was one of the more stupid things I ever read. Exclude Christianity because of the association between Jesus and alcohol, or Jesus and a bad childhood association??? Was the writer on crack? That is like thinking no Jew should drive a BMW or Mercedes because it is a German car.
chamblee54 Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:24 pm
No I am not on crack. I am not saying we should exclude jesus worship, although I wouldn’t miss it. Jesus is a source of misery in my life. Jesus is verbal abuse, humiliation, ruined friendships, and ego tripping loudmouths. Right now, we have alcohol free potlucks out of consideration for men in recovery. I was raising the point that we should consider a “jesus free” potluck out of consideration for men who are likewise in recovery.
I feel that the tone of your reply is indicative of the aggressive, thoughtless nature of many jesus worshipers. Jesus worship is no ordinary religion. No other religion stirs the ill will that jesus worship does. Many of us have been hurt very badly because of jesus worship and jesus, and we should be careful when introducing this poison into our fellowship.
As for the issue of whether a Jew should drive a German car…this is not a car club. If a Jew doesn’t want to drive a German car, or a Korean does not want a Japanese car, that should be their privilege. Likewise, if I do not want to be confronted with an offensive religion, that should be my privilege.
chamblee54 Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:24 am
Here are a few more thoughts on the jesus issue, while I am waiting for the crack house to open
1- Is the problem jesus or jesus worshipers? A lot of the comments I have seen, both recently and in the “real” world, like to make excuses for jesus and place the blame entirely on jesus worshipers. Could it be that the problem is jesus? What do we mean when we say jesus? Is it the historic figure in the bible, or a vague spirit that lives in the hearts of people, and is different for all believers? When we blame jesus worshipers rather than jesus, are we contributing to the conflict between believer and non believer? In my opinion (overpriced at two cents) jesus is the problem. Many jesus worshipers are good people who have put their faith in an overrated spirit.
2- Does the first commandment forbid bible worship and jesus worship? Should this matter to us? You are all intelligent men. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this. You can decide this for yourself.
3- Arguments about jesus are not spiritually fulfilling. In fact, they are painful and unpleasant, and lead to much ill will between neighbors, and ill will for jesus.
4- I like the fact that this is a men group, and I do not have to use gender inclusive language.
5- One of you writes “run away from it, hide and try to banish any mention of it from your existence”. If only it were that simple. One of the problems with many jesus worshipers is that they simply will not shut up. They are like dogs that will not quit barking. While I am not saying we should never say the j word, I would suggest that we show some sensitivity to those of us who are allergic to jesus.
6- Islam is a very close second to jesus worship in terms of generating obnoxious behavior, and may in fact be worse. It should also be noted that two wrongs do not make a right. Also, if the first commandment outlaws bible worship, would it not include the quaran as well?
7- While I am discussing the ten commandments, Let’s talk about the third. This is about the use of sacred names. The third commandment is a lot more than gods last name. The g word should be used with kindness and reverence, or not at all. The third commandment does not include a pledge of allegiance to a nationalist symbol.
8- What do we mean by “all spiritual paths”? A jihad ? Doorknob worship? Pastafarianism (noodle worship)? Could alcohol use be considered a spiritual path? After all it does involve spirits. And, we have already banished this from our gatherings, out of respect for those in recovery. Do we really need those seven words (that is open to all spiritual paths.) in the mission statement? “We are committed to creating safe, sacred space for loving gay men to explore and strengthen our spiritual identity”…. Do we really need to gild the lily by adding on to that? Also, if we introduce elements into our gathering that are offensive to some of our neighbors…like alcohol and jesus…do we compromise the safety and sacredness of the space?
9- Just one more line, and this is a top ten list.
10- Last summer I led a ritual, where some of our guest were the four gods and the seven goddesses. The seven goddesses are Isis, Astarte, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Iana, Diana. The four gods are jesus, buddah, mohammed, and elvis. Jesus was very well behaved and did not cause any trouble.
XL Catch 22 This chapter is where the story gets downright far fetched. Colonels Korn and Cathcart offer Yossarian a deal. Instead of a court martial, they send him home. The only thing Yossarian has to do is like the two slimy bastards. The deal is odious. Yossarian accepts the deal.
As Yossarian walks out of the meeting, he encounters Nately’s whore, dressed as a Private. She lunges at him, and stabs him in the side.
PG collects quotes for use in compilations. Many, though not all, are from facebook. Here are a few, with one from Chapter forty included.
I like someone who is as proud of his ability to listen as he is the clever things that he says.(fb)
G-d is in the details
Really dreading the flurry of obligatory niceties tomorrow. I appreciate being acknowledged, but what I’d REALLY like is for people to want to do stuff with me, and to want that enough to try to make such plans ahead of time such that it might conceivably happen. Figuring out my very consistent schedule would be a nice touch too. I probly won’t respond to birthday wishes tomorrow. I’ll be too busy trying really hard to actually have that happy birthday, despite it being a day full of doctor’s appointments for me and mine, leading up to a weekend of missing out on various fun things for lack of funds. And having a bunch of randomly occurring bullshit phone conversations where I act happy that somebody’s automatic reminder function prompted them to fulfill a perceived social obligation would make my birthday a lot less fun for me. If I’m not worth spending time with in real life, please just don’t even bother with a cheerful birthday greeting. (fb)
Wie wil het nou niet? Erotisch contact met honderden of zelfs duizenden vrouwen, mannen en stellen. Iedereen toch? Voor de lekkerste dates zit je dan ook goed bij ons.
“The men were perfectly content to fly as many missions as we asked them as long as they thought they had no alternative. Now you’ve given them hope, and they’re unhappy. So the blame is all yours.”
“I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.” ~Flannery O’Connor (fb)
“Thanks for taking time out of your busy booger-eating schedule to comment..” ~ My favorite retort to a comments board troll. (fb)
Today i received a phone call from my bank stating my identity had been stolen. I asked them how they knew, and they said because my credit score went up. (fb)
Before I closed the word file, the machine asked me: “Save changes to The Perfect Church “?
This web page at http://www.awkwardboners.com has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences.
WHAT IF instead of exhausting our finances on church ski trips we wore holes in our pants on church knee trips?
My unfavorite phrase is mainstream media, or msm. It doesn’t anger me so much as it makes me lose respect for the person who uses it. If this person works for Cox Enterprises or News Corporation, and they complain about MSM, then they are talking about themselves. News Corporation, the parent of Fox news, is as mainsteam as it is possible to be.
XLI Snowden Yossarian wakes up in the hospital. Two doctors are threatening to commit surgery, over what is apparently a minor wound. After that crisis is over, Yossarian tells the Chaplain about his deal. The man of G-d is horrified.
Soon, Yossarian is by himself, in the dark, nasty hospital. There is no one to tell him the time. As Catcher in the rye readers know, this tells us that Nurse Duckett is not there. Soon, Yossarian falls asleep, and begins to dream about the mission where Snowdon is killed.
Soon, the blood and guts are flying everywhere. Yossarian tries to help Snowden in his misery, but makes one dumb mistake after another. One of the themes of this book is that none of the deaths were because of enemy competence. Every American who dies in this story does so because of stupidity and mistakes on the part of the allies. The Vietnam expression was friendly fire.
“He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all. “
A few months ago, a young man went into a store in Southwest Atlanta. When he left, he was attacked by three men. The incident was taped by a fourth man, who kept yelling “no faggots in jack city”. The video was posted on the internet, and became the sensation of the day. Later, the attackers were arrested, and some “community leaders” were calling for leniency. Here are some comments floating around the innertubes.
Lets be honest here, The Brandon was not permanently injured and the word is that Brandon knew those guys and possibly had an affair with one or more of the “attackers”. They were upset because they were about to be exposed on being on the “down low”. (Being on the “down low” in Atlanta is so COMMON that it is a trend going out of style,) 5 yrs prison and 5yrs parole is WAY more than enough. Lets put this to sleep and keep it moving. The gay rights people shoved the case down our throats enough
If Brandon White were beaten by a group of white thugs, those same Reps would be calling for a lifetime of imprisonment. But no. Because the thugs were from the hood, “leaders” beg for leniency.
i knew all this was a hoax anyway. this is atlanta were talking about, where it seems nearly all of the black men either are openly gay or secretly taking it in the ass. either way, it’s still fruity as hell, and they can all go somewhere with their sweet asses!!!! this is a non issue. there are more important issues in the black community than 3 down low ass niggas beating down a fruity ass nigga simply because he wants to expose their double lifestyles. atlanta is something else!!!!
Ok, Jay. You’re right. Put them in jail for 10 years and forget about them. They’re just young black men, anyway, right?
XLII Yossarian This is it. Chapter forty two is named for the hero, and is the last chapter. The last sentence is “The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.” Nately’s whore will not give up, and once again she almost cops Yossarian’s life.
Yossarian is talking to the Major Danby. Yossarian wants to renege on the deal, which he finds odious. There are serious doubts on whether or not the Colonels would go through with their end of the bargain. They were never given the chance.
After a while, the Chaplain bursts into the conversation. It seems like Orr is alive. When last heard from, his boat was not rescued after a plane crash. It turns out that Orr has rowed his little boat from the Italian coast to a safe haven. In Sweden. This is about as believable as the repeated appearance of Nately’s whore at the base. .
Yossarian is inspired by the epic voyage of Orr, and decides to emulate it. He is going to go AWOL, go to Rome, and find his way to Sweden. Or somewhere. He will not let the German Army, the American Army, The Russian Army, or the British Army from stopping him. Major Danby tries to discourage him, while the Chaplain cheers him on. Finally, he steps out of the hospital, dodges one last attempted murder by Nately’s whore, and the book is over.
This is a rather unsatisfactory end. One gets the feeling that Mr. Heller was spinning this long tale of wartime insanity, and needed to find a way to end it. There is a sequel, Closing Time: The Sequel to Catch-22. The twice divorced Yossarian is living in New York, and hangs out with Milo Minderbinder.
This may have been the longest book reading ever for PG. The previous longest was Infinite Jest, which kept getting renewed at the library. After taking twelve weeks to go 600 pages, PG gave up. Just because you like to read, that doesn’t mean you like to carve faces out of stone.
The situation with Catch 22 is a bit different. This is a book that should be taken slowly, to appreciate the atmosphere and use of language. What really slowed PG down was reading with one eye. For the last two months, reading has meant letting the right eye outshine the fuzz from the left eye. There was an eye doctor appointment yesterday, and that situation is looking much better. No treatment was given yesterday, and in another month we will see what we see. The fact that insurance has decided not to pay for the office visits takes a bit of the joy away.
It is not known whether, or not, PG will attempt another book appreciation like this one. The odds are that eventually the hassle of putting this thing together will fade away, and another multi part book report will appear in Chamblee54.