Base Camp is where visitors go to relax, unwind, and get familiar with an anthology of earlier material.

Catch 22: A Conversation With Yossarian

Sometimes the greatest insights come from the daftest conversations, and the sanest among us are the maddest of the lot — and vice versa…

Warning: This is a Gonzo piece I call ‘tightrope writing,’ in which the point is unclear and ambiguous, walking a thin line, mixing its signals and teeter-tottering to make it through. What you’re left with at the end is a cocktail of emotions you can’t reduce down to a single ingredient, and the experience stays with you for a long time.

Part 1 – The Stuff We’re Made Of

Rage. Building up inside and bursting, bursting like the night at the end of days, pushing out the daylight. Shoving the sun over the horizon and burying it deep below. Pushing across the sky and blanketing the land with its dark veil.

Accompanied by anguish. Anguish and stress at the infuriating inconsistency of life. Pain revolves around it. Nothing dampens it. It pressurizes like a cooker, storing up power, raising the marker. Remember, pain is your friend, your wake-up call. Pain keeps you honest, and in touch with reality.

Yossarian…? Captain Yossarian? What is your problem? You want to leave us? Why? Where are you going? Stay here, keep us company. Dive into the madness, marinate yourself in the mayhem to soften yourself up. Suck up some flavor and let it soak right through you, it will turn you delectably delirious. Delectably delirious, get it? One letter away from delicious — delirious? Really! This you don’t get! You have no trouble spotting all the crap that goes on around here and losing sleep over it, yessiree! You catch that right out of the sky but this one you don’t get. Go on, get outta here! I said get outta here, Yossarian, and shut your fucking mouth!

Hopeless – that’s what you are! You don’t get it, do you? It’s all about the operation. You have to keep the operation going, no matter what. If you have doubts or questions, voice them, but whatever happens, keep the operation going. Nobody likes a time-wasting squarepants who trips everyone up with his complaints. Go sell your theories at the comedy store on your night out, pour your heart out to the first hooker you fall in love with, do whatever glazes your doughnut, but leave us out of it. There’s a war on, and you better be part of it and help us win it. Drop some bombs on some Krauts and come back in one piece to tell the story over a neat bourbon and water back, so we can all have a good laugh. Sell cotton candy in your spare time, make yourself useful, and the syndicate a buck or two, we need the proceeds, part of which you get to keep. Do something useful and stop wasting everyone’s time with your questions.

And for God’s sake, man, wake up! Wake up and embrace the madness. This is what it’s all about, the madness of being alive.

Are you listening to me?

You’re not listening. You’re gone, done, burned to a crisp. 
It was bound to happen, sooner or later. This place will test you alright! God, I love it here. This is the stuff we’re made of.

Yep, it’s good to be alive, to be part of the operation. You’d have to be mad not to love it.

Now where’s my fucking plane?

Part 2 to follow…