Something Happened

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Something Happened (1974) is a novel by Joseph Heller about a businessman who engages in a stream of consciousness narrative about his job, his family, his childhood, his sexual escapades, and his own psyche.


  • Something did happen to me somewhere that robbed me of confidence and courage and left me with a fear of discovery and change and a positive dread of everything unknown that may occur.
  • I think that maybe in every company today there is always at least one person who is going crazy slowly.
  • It's a real problem to decide whether it's more boring to do something boring than to pass along everything boring that comes in to somebody else and then have nothing to do at all.
  • ...if you asked any one of them if he would choose to spend the rest of his life working for the company, he would give you a resounding No!, regardless of what inducements were offered. I was that high once. If you asked me that same question today, I would also give you a resounding No! and add:
    "I think I'd rather die now."
    But I am making no plans to leave.
    I have the feeling now that there is no place left for me to go.
  • Because Andy Kagle is good to me and doesn't scare me any longer, I despise him a little bit too.
  • Everything passes. (That's what makes it endurable.)
  • Yesterday, I helped a blind man across the street and was surprised that I did not feel revolted when I took his arm.
  • Sundays are deadly.
    Spare time is ruinous.
  • I don't know what else one can do with a hole in one except talk about it.
  • I want to keep my dreams, even bad ones, because without them, I might have nothing all night long.
  • Sometimes when I'm asleep, I try to wake up and can't. Sleep has me in its grip, and that is my dream.
  • I think I'm in terrible trouble. I think I've committed a crime. The victims have always been children.
  • I want my little boy back too.
    I don't want to lose him.
    I do.
  • No one understands that carrying on bravely was the easiest thing to do.
  • I asked for me.
    I was not there either.
    (I had never done that before.)
    It made me sad to hear that.
  • Waking up is such a peculiar and extraordinary process that I'm surprised we are able to manage it successfully so many times while we are still half asleep.
  • But better wet and smelly, for my taste, than dry and perfumed. I hate those artificial, candy-store scents. I want to embrace human flesh with musky, natural odors, not a bar of soap.

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