A Conversation for Wartime Use of Conkers

"Catch 22" The Novel

Post 1

Steve K.

I did not know what a "conker" was, being an American and all. I assumed it was a British thing that we semi-illiterate Yanks call something else - cricket/baseball, lift/elevator, King/CEO, etc. So I read the article and discovered a conker is a horse chestnut. I don't know what a horse chestnut is, either, but it does bring to mind a memorable exchange in the great (really, one of the few) American novel "Catch 22":


Orr: “When I was a kid, I used to walk around all day with crab apples in my cheeks. One in each cheek.”

Yossarian: “Why?”

Orr (tittering triumphantly): “Because they’re better than horse chestnuts. When I couldn’t get crab apples, I used horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are about the same size as crab apples and actually have a better shape, although the shape doesn’t matter a bit.”

Yossarian: “Why did you walk around with crab apples in your cheeks? That’s what I asked.”

Orr: “Because they’ve got a better shape than horse chestnuts. I just told you that.”

Yossarian: “Why, you evil-eyed, mechanically-aptituded, disaffiliated son of a bitch, did you walk around with anything in your cheeks?”

Orr: “I didn’t walk around with anything in my cheeks. I walked around with crab apples in my cheeks. . . .”


And the war goes on ...

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"Catch 22" The Novel

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