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The Quilting Bee-Part II

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  • The Quilting Bee-Part II

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,4,2,14,14,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 02-05-2004 21:14<noscript>May 02, 2004 02:14 PM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    There is a passage in the novel “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller that has haunted me since I read it while a freshman in college-a long time ago. For those of you who may not know, this is the story of an Air Force battalion stationed in the Mediterranean during WW II. Briefly, the word comes down that their next mission will be to bomb the city of Bologna Italy. No one assigned to the planes is anxious to do this because of the rumors about the massive antiaircraft batteries in the city. There is a “frantic stampede” of men for extra flak suits until they're all gone.
    The charts line the inner aspect of the circle’s hub like a blue and red ribbon winding around something we can’t quite see. A red chart signifies that the patient is diabetic. Those of us charged with reading and writing in them pull them from their slots toward the center and bend over them there. Taking them from the circle requires special permission.
    After a few days delay because of weather the men began to gather around a map in the intelligence tent. A narrow red ribbon there indicates the position of the ground forces advancing north toward Balogna and it is clear the troops are stalled 42 miles south of the city… “(The men) stared at the bomb line on the map… ruminating hypnotically on the fact that there was no escape. They were trapped…they congregated in the darkness with flashlights as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the collective weight of their sullen prayers.”
    Sometimes I stare at a blank page in the chart for what seems like a long time before I can force myself to form the words I know someone expects to see there. It isn’t like the writing I do here, not at all. The disparity between the ways I would ordinarily talk and what I’m supposed say about the patient’s ability and care in the chart is enormous. I’ve learned that the bill gets paid when I conjure up some description that sounds like a passage out of “Physical Therapy for Dummies.” Its relation to my actual care is often tenuous, and not because I haven’t done my job. At least, this is how it seems to me.
    A minor character in the novel, Clevinger, watches this vigil with growing alarm and goes to his friend Yossarian, the central character. “I really can’t believe it,” Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. “It’s a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They’re confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe we wouldn’t have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the night and move the bomb line over Balogna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left.”
    Sometimes when faced with certain consequences we act in ways that defy our nature. We express ourselves only after careful internal editing and what emerges lacks the ring of truth. It gets the job done though, and, eventually, what we say happened, especially what we document, can become more real than what actually happened.
    Heller finishes his story…“In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Balogna.”
    The next morning the mission was cancelled. After all, they had captured Balogna.
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 27-06-2012, 05:17 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein