“Colonel Cathcart was impervious to absolutes. He could measure his own progress only in relationship to others, and his idea of excellence was to do something at least as well as all the men his own age who were doing the same thing better. The fact that there were thousands of men his own age and older who had not even attained the rank of major enlivened him with foppish delight in his own remarkable worth; on the other hand, the fact that there were men of how own age and younger who were already generals contaminated him with an agonizing sense of failure and made him gnaw at his fingernails with an unappeasable anxiety that was even more intense than Hungry Joe’s”
—Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Although there are many more great quotations from Catch-22, this one pretty much sums up my entire high school career. We all compare our test grades and secretly feel both incredible for getting higher than some people and dismal for getting a lower score than other people. We talk about colleges and are elated when it turns out that we got in to a certain school, and then we feel bad when the school we got into wasn’t as good as the school someone else got into.
We all go crazy by comparing ourselves, and all of our conversations are either about what colleges different people got into, or they are about how annoyed we are that all of our conversations are about what colleges different people got into.
I’m so sick of this craziness, and I’m sick of all of these comparisons that are going on. Thankfully, I got into the college of my dreams, and since the college of my dreams is relatively unknown at my school, I’m out of the whole college comparison craziness right now. No one except for my friends care that I got in, and they only care because they are genuinely happy for me, not because they are jealous.
I just hope that college and life in general isn’t like that. I don’t want to be Colonel Cathcart. I don’t want to be any character from Catch-22 because, while they are hilarious, they are all a little bit crazy. Except for Yossarian. He’s crazy, but crazy in a sane way. I know that doesn’t make sense at all, but I guess that’s how Catch-22 is.