There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.
Yossarian saw it clearly in all its spinning reasonableness. There was an elliptical precision about its perfect pairs of parts that was graceful and shocking, like good modern art, and at times Yossarian wasn’t quite sure that he saw it at all, just the way he was never quite sure about good modern art or the flies Orr saw in Appleby’s eyes. He had Orr’s word to take for the flies in Appleby’s eyes.
-Joseph Heller – Catch-22.
I have an extensive reading list for my time in Morocco. I’m sure some of these books will make me smarter, like one entitled Women, the State, and Political Liberalization: Middle Eastern and North African Experiences. I plan to null these books out with some that are bound to make me dumber, like my sister-in-law’s gift to me: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And of course, there are those few books that simply maintain the status quo of my intellect. Catch-22, in all its brilliant idiocy, does just that.
Catch-22 is a book that I will always associate with Morocco. Last time I was here, Nick and I read passages out loud to each other...or at least we tried. It’s hard to spit out the absurd dialogue while we’re dissolving in uncontrollable laughter. You know, the kind where my face is fire engine red and I’m gasping for air, while tears are running down my face, causing mascara to run into my eyes and making me unable to stop crying for a good long while. The kind of laughter that causes a scene in JJ’s, and makes me deeply regret my inability to translate the inane antics of Yossarian and his gang into something even remotely humorous for Kamal so he can have some idea of why I’ve suddenly gone nuts. That kind of laughter.
I just finished re-reading it. But now the stupidity of Catch-22 is hitting closer to home. It’s probably not the best book to read while applying for residency in Morocco.
Applying for residency is one of the most dreaded escapades of anyone who wants to live here (legally) for more than 3 months. What should be a simple procedure gets tangled in the web of bureaucracy and (dare I say it?) corruption.
They know that we Westerners are into efficiency. This may sound cynical, but I think they purposely send us on wild goose chases just so we will throw up our hands and slip some dirhams into our passports next time we show up at the immigration office.
One of the favored techniques is the good old Catch-22.
To get a Carte de Sejour (residency permit) they tell you that you have to prove financial stability by showing that you have a Moroccan bank account with at least $2000 worth of Moroccan currency. BUT in order to get a Moroccan bank account you have to prove that you have legal long-term residency (i.e. a Carte de Sejour).
That’s some catch, that Catch-22.
This little catch is why I avoided getting residency last time. This time, the fact that I have a notarized letter from MACECE saying that my funds are provided for is supposed to be sufficient in lieu of a bank account.
But, of course, that would be too easy and make too much sense.
The following was my conversation at the police station yesterday. I already gave him my letters of attestacion from my ALIF and MACECE. The MACECE one is clear that my funding is taken care of by the commission. It wasn’t good enough, apparently:
Mean Man: You need to show me proof of a bank account
Me: I don’t have a bank account
Mean Man: How do you support yourself?
Me: My grant pays me every month.
Mean Man: Where do they send the money?
Me: To me
Mean Man: To a bank account?
Me: No. They do a money transfer through the post office.
Mean Man: You need to have a bank account with $2000 worth of local currency.
Me: No I don’t. My money’s taken care of by my grant. That should be enough.
Mean Man: No. You still need a bank account.
Me: No I don’t.
Mean Man: Yes. Come back when you have a bank account.
Me: No. I don’t need one.
This continued for a while...anyone who’s seen the angry and indignant version of me (the one when I start shaking and raising my voice while trying to remain semi-civil) can picture the scene...then the boss came over.
Boss: What’s the problem.
Mean Man: She needs a bank account.
Boss: No she doesn’t.
Defeated, the Mean Man gave me the papers I needed to fill out and told me to come back with one more paper...I question the necessity of this final paper, but it won’t be hard to get. Plus, I don’t need to push the issue. The Mean Man just got owned by a stubborn little white girl.
This one’s for you, Yossarian.
Whose Win is it Anyway?
6 years ago