"The war did extraordinary things to people. And what was more extraordinary than the way it killed people was the way it sometimes didn’t kill them. It was like a great flood rushing you along to death, and suddenly it would shoot you up some backwater where you’d find yourself doing incredible and pointless things and drawing extra pay for them. There were labour battalions making roads across the desert that didn’t lead anywhere, there were chaps marooned on oceanic islands to look out for German cruisers which had been sunk years earlier, there were Ministries of this and that with armies of clerks and typists which went on existing years after their function had ended, by a kind of inertia. People were shoved into meaningless jobs and then forgotten by the authorities for years on end. This was what happened to myself, or very likely I wouldn’t be here. The whole sequence of events is rather interesting."
George Orwell, Coming Up for Air (1939)