Deb Rachel Knows There’s a Catch

You guys. Catch-22. I don’t get it.

There are few feelings worse than the sense that everyone is laughing at a joke and you’re on the outside. When I first read the Joseph Heller novel, often referred to as a comedic masterpiece, I was a senior in college. And I kept waiting for the funny parts to start.

When I read back bits of dialogue from the novel now, I can see that they have a definite “Who’s on First?” quality. But that’s not enough to be labeled “one of the most bitterly funny works in the language,” I don’t think. Or is it?

Catch-22 came up at a family dinner a little while ago. “I know it’s funny,” I said. “But I just didn’t get it.”

My uncle (who I adore, let it be known, even after the upcoming comment) looked at me like I was an idiot and laughed. “There’s not much to get!” he said.

I shrugged. Whatever there was to get, I didn’t.

But no one enjoys being laughed at or made to feel like a moron.

So now, when people talk about Catch-22 and how laugh-out-loud funny it is, I smile with my lips pursed. I half-nod. I say nothing.

Truth be told, I’m not entirely convinced that they get it either. And, to be clear, I’d take Abbott and Costello any day. Now this is funny stuff.

Did you read Catch-22? Do you think it was hilarious? And if so, can you explain the hilarity to me?? And what’s the “funny” book that never made you laugh?

5 Replies to “Deb Rachel Knows There’s a Catch”

  1. Thank you! I read that book in AP senior English class. Even though I was very well read at the time and possessed a rather wry sense of humor, I HATED that book. I just didn’t get it. I don’t think I even finished it, and I had to use my fine BS skills to finish my essay.

    I thought I was the only one.

  2. Uh, I’ve never read that, either. But that’s how I felt about P&P – just missing too many of the jokes!
    I’m going to reserve talking about the my favorite funny book(because it’s featured in next week’s post), but there was one book I read that was borrowed from a British friend, called WILT. I distincltly reading it in a diner over lunch and could not stop the guffaws that erupted from me over that book. It’s an older book, but is available for Kindle:

  3. It’s what I call “The Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome — the more people who rave about something, the more all the others don’t want to admit they don’t get it, so they rave too. But sometimes the “emperor” really IS naked. *grin*

  4. I have the opposite story: I think Richard Bradford’s book “Red Sky at Morning” is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, but no one else has even heard of it. Years ago, I kept reading parts of it aloud to Natalie, who just stared at me. But then the other day, she randomly said, “Red Sky at Morning is hilarious! I’m reading it & I love it!” And then I turned into a golden retriever & couldn’t stop wiggling in happiness. 🙂

    The exact same thing happened with Christopher Moore’s “Lamb,” except for the part where Natalie reads it herself and thinks it’s funny. Maybe some day….

  5. Er…I’ve never read it.

    And yet, I’ve used the phrase over and over, and really, what business do I have doing that if I’ve never read the darn thing?!

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