Closing Time Awesomeness

posted in Books on Apr 8, 2008

I usually don’t do this, but I came across a couple of pages in the book I’m currently reading that I thought were just awesome. We all know that Joseph Heller is a good writer. Catch-22 was an amazing book that most of us have read in high school or where ever. I’m right in the middle of Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22, and, again, a couple of pages were pure gold. I’m going to post these two pages here, and hopefully the powers that be will not punish me for copyright infringement or something like that. I’m purely posting this in hopes that someone will read it and potentially pick up the book as a result, and you can be positive I’ll review it on the show. Hopefully if the owners of this material happen to see this at some point in time, they’ll just know that it’s for the enjoyment of the prose and for no personal benefit. I want them to make more money on the book.

Ok, disclaimer over. Follow the link to the text:

I believe in the flood,” The Vice President replied.
“I don’t think I heard that.”
“I believe in the flood.”
“What flood?” Noodles was befuddled again.
“Noah’s flood, of course. The one in the Bible. So does my wife. Don’t you know about it?”
Through narrowed eyes Noodles searched the guileless countenance for some twinkle of play. “I’m not sure I know what you mean. You believe it was wet?”
“I believe that it’s true. In every detail.”
“That he took the male and female of every animal species?”
“That’s what it says.”
“Sir,” said Noodles, with civility. “We have by now catalogued more kinds of animal and insect life than anyone could possibly collect in a lifetime and put onto a ship that size. How would he get them, where would he put them, to say nothing of room for himself and the families of his children, and the problems of the storage of food and the removal of waste in those forty days and nights of rain?”
“You do know about it!”
“I’ve heard. And for a hundred and fifty days and nights afterward, when the rain stopped.”
“You know about that too!” The Vice President regarded him approvingly. “Then you probably also know that evolution bunk. I hate evolution.”
“Where did all this animal life we know about now come from? There are three or four hundred thousand different species of beetles alone.”
“Oh, they probably just evolved.”
“In only seven thousand years? That’s about all it was, as biblical time is measured.”
“You can look it up, Noodles. Everything we need to know about the creation of the world is right there in the Bible, put down in plain English.” The Vice President regarded him placidly.
“I know there are skeptics. They are all of them Reds. They are all of them wrong.”
“There’s the case of Mark Twain,” Noodles could not restrain himself from arguing.
“Oh, I know that name!” the Vice President cried, with great vanity and joy. “Mark Twain is the great American humorist from my neighboring state of Missouri, isn’t he?”
“Missouri is not a neighboring state of Indiana, sir. And your great American humorist Mark Twain ridiculed the Bible, despised Christianity, detested our imperialistic foreign policy, and heaped piles of scorn on every particular in the story of Noah and his ark, especially for the housefly.”
“Obviously,” the Vice President replied, with no loss of equanimity, “we are talking about different Mark Twains.”
Noodles was enraged. “There was only one, sir,” he said softly, and smiled. “If you like, I’ll prepare a summary of his statements and leave it with one of your secretaries.”
“No, I hate written things. Put it on a video, and maybe we can turn it into a game. I really can’t see why some people who read have so much trouble coming to grips with the simple truths that are put down theres so clearly. And please don’t call me sir, Noodles. You’re so much older than I am. Won’t you call me Prick?”
“No, sir, I won’t call you prick.”
“Everyone else does. You have a right to. I have taken an oath to support that constitutional right.”
“Look, you prick–” Noodles had jumped to his feet and was glancing around frantically, for a blackboard, for chalk and a pointer, for anything! “Water seeks its own level.”
“Yes, I’ve heard that.”
“Mount Everest is close to five miles high. For the earth to be covered in water, there would have to be water everywhere on the globe that was close to five miles deep.”
His future employer nodded, pleased that he finally seemed to be getting through. “There was that much water then.”
“Then the waters receded. Where could they recede to?”
“Into the oceans, of course.”
“Where were the oceans, if the world was under water?”
“Underneath the flood, of course,” was his unhesitating reply, and the genial man rose. “If you look at a map, Noodles, you will see where the oceans are. And you will also see that Missouri does border on my state of Indiana.”

That might have been longer that it might otherwise have been, but I loved those two pages. I just hope the feds are going to be knocking down my door. If you’ve read this, you need to go buy the book so I don’t go to jail. I think it works like that.