Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Everyone may be ordinary, but they're not normal

Back in Wales over the weekend, during a seemingly endless family discussion in the back garden over what name my new nephew should have, I heard my brother John mutter, "I have named the child Caleb, in accordance with your wishes" under his breath.

I recognised it as a quote from chapter 9 "Major Major Major Major" of Catch 22 (read it here, it is hilarious), and I was struck yet again by how remarkably similar our tastes and references are despite a nine year age difference which means that I had gone to university before he was ten. How may people would say it? How many people would pick up on it?

The novel relates that Maj. Major was named "Major Major Major" by his father, as a joke – passing up such lesser possibilities such as "Drum Major, Minor Major, Sergeant Major, or C Sharp Major" and that addition of the rank of Major was the result of "an IBM machine with a sense of humor almost as keen as his father's". Extremely apt in the context of a debate stretching over weeks on what name tag to pin on a blameless child.

Other book news: I finished reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami yesterday and started on The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

To my surprise Mukherjee's book kicks off with a quote from Murakami's IQ84, and now I have noticed that Mukherjee is appearing at a 5x15 event in London tonight. The universe seems to be leading me by the nose. I don't know where, but I will come along for the ride.

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