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Joseph Heller

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There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's 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

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James Burford, collier and fitter, was the oldest soldier of all. When I first spoke to him in the trenches, he said: "Excuse me, sir, will you explain what this here arrangement is on the side of my rifle?" "That's the safety catch. Didn't you do a musketry-course at the depôt?" "No, sir, I was a re-enlisted man, and I spent only a fortnight there. The old Lee-Metford didn't have no safety-catch." I asked him when he had last fired a rifle. "In Egypt in 1882," he said. "Weren't you in the South African War?" "I tried to re-enlist, but they told me I was too old, sir... My real age is sixty-three."

 
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Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye, and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.

 
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If a player in the game of Deadman's Catch drops a skittle, he is obliged to suffer a succession of handicaps. First to catch using one hand, then to catch kneeling on one knee, then on two knees, then with one eye closed. If a player finally drops a catch with both eyes closed, then he is out and must take his place in the winding-sheet.

 
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I thought you were crazy, wishing such a thing.
I saw only a stick on fire,
Alone on its journey
Home to the quickening ground,
With no one there to catch it.

 
Kate Bush
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