The Catch-22 of Animal Control Ordinances
The term catch-22 originated with Joseph Heller's book of the same name. In Heller's story of World-War II bomber crews, there was a rule that an airman could be grounded, and thereby saved from a likely death in action, if he was crazy. However, first the crazy man had to ask to be grounded, which amounted to asking to be withdrawn from a life-threatening situation, which was then taken as proof that he was sane. Therefore, either way, you still had to fly. That was the catch, which they called catch-22.
Since then, the term catch-22 has come to be associated with any legal provision, like the multiple house-hold laws, in which you can do this, but only if you first do that. However, since you can't actually do the second thing, you really can't do the first thing either, other than in some vague, theoretical sense.
Written by Craig
Spanish translation - Traducción al español
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