You remember Col. Cathcart, don’t you — from Catch-22? (And if you haven’t read Catch-22, you should.)
Here’s a reminder of who he is:
His main function in the plot of the book is to keep raising the number of missions that the men in his bomb group must fly before they can rotate stateside. He does this to curry favor with his superiors. He lives for “feathers in his cap” and lives in horror of “black eyes.”
This repeated raising of the number of missions is a key driver in Yossarian’s constant, growing anxiety, especially since the colonel always raises the number just before Yossarian reaches it:
Well, it seems that Col. Cathcart has slipped out of the pages of the novel and somehow gained access to our Walk for Life team profile, and raised our goal — much as Yossarian slipped out of his tent one night and moved the bomb line on the map to above Bologna.
And I’m happy to report that I — I mean, Col. Cathcart — ran into Samuel Tenenbaum this morning, who is sort of the General Dreedle of Palmetto Health Foundation, and told him that our goal has been raised from $1,000 to $3,000. He was most pleased. I think this is quite a feather in my, I mean Col. Cathcart’s, cap.
And I’m sure, men (like Lt. Scheisskopf, I enjoy addressing you as “men” in a clipped, military voice), that you’ll be happy to keep flying missions until we exceed the new goal. Failure to do so would result in a black eye for me, your colonel, and I’m sure none of you men want that.