‘No, you can’t go home,’ ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen admitted. ‘Forty missions is all you have to fly as far as Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters in concerned.’

Yossarian was jubilant. ‘Then I can go home, right? I’ve got forty-eight.’

‘No, you can’t go home,’ ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen corrected him. ‘Are you crazy or something?’

‘Why not?’


‘Catch-22?’ Yossarian was stunned. ‘What the hell has Catch-22 got to do with it?’

‘Catch-22,’ Doc Daneeka answered patiently, when Hungry Joe had flown Yossarian back to Pianosa, ‘says you’ve always got to do what your commanding officer tells you to.’

‘But Twenty-seventh Air Force says I can go home with forty missions.’

But they don’t say you have to go home. And regulations do say you have to obey every order. That’s the catch. Even if the colonel were disobeying a Twenty-seventh Air Force order by making you fly more missions, you’d still have to fly them, or you’d be guilty of disobeying an order of his. And then Twenty-seventh Air Force headquarters would really jump on you.’

Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)