Hungry Joe’s tent is near a road where the men sometimes pick up girls and take them out to the tall grass across the road from an open-air movie theater. A U.S.O. (United Service Organizations) troupe that visited the theater that afternoon has been sent by an ambitious general named P. P. Peckem, who hopes to take over the command of Yossarian’s unit from General Dreedle. General Peckem’s troubleshooter, Colonel Cargill, used to be a marketing executive paid by Wall Street firms to fail at marketing so that they could establish tax losses. Cargill does much the same thing now as a colonel: he fails most notably at bringing enthusiasm to the men, some of whom have finished their fifty missions and anxiously hope their orders to return home arrive before Colonel Cathcart raises the number of missions again. Yossarian feels sick, but Doc Daneeka refuses to ground him. Doc Daneeka advises Yossarian to emulate Havermeyer, a fearless bombardier, and make the best of his situation. But Yossarian thinks that his fear is healthy. The narrator notes that Havermeyer likes to shoot mice in the middle of the night and that he once woke Hungry Joe with a shot that compelled him to dive into a slit trench. These slit trenches had mysteriously appeared beside every tent the morning following the mess officer Milo Minderbinder’s bombing of the squadron. Summary — Chapter 4: Doc Daneeka The narrator explains that Hungry Joe is crazy and thus Yossarian is trying to give him advice. Hungry Joe won’t listen, however, because he thinks Yossarian is crazy. Doc Daneeka, in turn, tells Yossarian that his own problems are worse than Hungry Joe’s because the war has interrupted his lucrative medical practice. Yossarian remembers trying to disrupt the educational meeting in Captain Black’s intelligence tent by asking unanswerable questions, which caused Group Headquarters to make a rule that the only people who could ask questions were the ones who never did. This rule comes from Colonel Cathcart and Lieutenant Colonel Korn. These two colonels also approved the construction of a skeet-shooting range at which Yossarian never hits anything. Dunbar, though, shoots skeet frequently because he hates it. Dunbar believes that when he engages in activities that are boring or uncomfortable, time passes more slowly and he thereby lengthens his life. He argues with Clevinger about this theory. Meanwhile, ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen has started a panic among the officers in Rome by telephoning them and saying only, “T. S. Eliot.” Although he intends these words as a response to a general memo from a colonel saying that it would be hard to name a poet who makes any money, General Peckem assumes that the words constitute a coded message and suffers great anxiety as a result.
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