As the blip turns into recession and hurtles onward to depression all sorts of experts are predicting all sorts of consequences, job losses, home repossessions, bankruptcies and an increase in mental health problems. And of course the reappearance of Catch - 22
Joseph Heller’s Catch - 22 was one of my favourite books ever in fact I am rereading it at the moment. The title, Catch - 22 represents the ultimate betrayal of frail humanity by the cold indifference of fate, it is whatever keeps us trapped within lousy situations. There are many variations then, depending on one’s circumstances. In the book theCatch-22 that traps World War 2 bomber crews lies in the fact that the only way to get out of flying more bombing missions over enemy territory is to ask to be taken off combat duty because one is crazy. However applying to be taken off combat missions proves one is not crazy and so not eligible to be taken off combat duty.
Catch – 22 crops up in all walks of life.
One of its latest manifestations cropped up on television yesterday. A penny-pinching expert was talking about how hard hit poorer people will be by the inflation that will inevitably follow the financial crisis. Many people will find themselves having to choose between buying food and heating their homes as they don't have enough money to for both. He recommended abandoning expensive convenience foods and getting into wholesome, old fashioned home cooking. This part of the item continued with a very unscientific survey of cooking ability; a reporter in a busy street stopping people at random, sticking a mic. in their face and asking about their cooking skills. It seems an alarming number of people under 35 cannot cook a baked potato.
I though the whole piece was heartless, insensitive and not politically correct. The producers had forgotten Catch – 22. If you buy potatoes you will certainly be unable to afford to heat the oven for baking them but if you save your money for gas or electricity bills you will have no potatoes to bake.
Life’s a bitch as they say.
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