Monday, September 25, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Everything

To hell with dresses and depression.

I walked around the mall and just stared dreamily at ice cream and cotton candy. A sugar fix would fix me up, I’m sure. But before ruining myself in the eyes of myself completely, I decided to go to Booksale for a greater marginal utility.

I stared at the bookshelves (as per routine) and found (gasp!) Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams. It’s the third book of the Hitchhiker series, the third book I’ve wanted to read for the past month of my life. I considered not reading So Long, And Thanks for All The Fish (the fourth book) until I’ve read the third book, but what the heck, I threw prudence to the polluted winds.

A little background: the Hitchhiker series centers on the misadventures of the mild-mannered space and time traveler, Arthur Dent. He’s the Englishman who hitchhikes out of Earth a few seconds before it was destroyed, in his bathrobe and his most valuable possession: a towel. He travels with his best friend, Ford Prefect, an alien from the vicinity of the Betelgeuse star system. There is also Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed rock star slash President of the Galaxy and Trillian, the last human female turned sexy space cadet. Together, they traversed the reaches of space and time, moronically blundering and blabbering alternately. If you’ve got the right sense of humor, you’ll find the Hitchhiker series a great way to expel gas.

There are five books in the series: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless. Basically, the series center on finding the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe and Everything. Why not the answer? Because the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. And no one knows what sort of misbegotten question 42 answers.

Life, the Universe, and Everything was published in 1982. The back of the book says: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [first book] has appeared in more forms than one might reasonably expect…and the motion picture version is confidently expected any decade now. The prophecy came true in 2005, 23 years later, starring Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent and Mos Def as Ford Prefect. Of course, it’s not accurate to the word (it almost was, except for the last quarter of the film) but it was absurdly funny all the same. It was sheer idiocy, a total detachment from reality—or fiction—whichever you want to call it. A smartass said: the only difference of fiction from reality is that it has to make sense. Douglas Adams has the knack of writing his fiction so senselessly that it’s almost quite not unlike reality. After reading his stuff, it’s not going to be hard to believe that the cafeteria lady is an alien from the marshes of Sqornshellous Zeta or your terror prof from the xenophobic world of Krikkit.

Better than ice cream and cotton candy with no fat—Douglas Adams is love.


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