Hitchhiker’s 42

I noticed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time several years ago in a local bookshop which also used to sell a (very limited and constantly changing) selection of books in English. Unless I’m much mistaken, I bought something else instead, deciding to buy this one the next time round. But the next time round it was no longer on offer.

I only heard about it again after getting on the Net. Since then I saw it mentioned or hinted at so often that I decided it must needs be a very famous or at least a cultish book. So I bought it and quite recently read it.

To tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed. I did enjoy it, but had expected even more. The best comparison that occurs to me is Monty Pythons not at their best. On the other hand, the words with which the book describes the book [sic!] looked to me so much like Wikipedia as to be almost uncanny. I couldn’t resist putting them to my userpage there.

I was also surprised how many of the jokes and catchphrases I encountered on the Net without associating them with the book had actually originated there. You know, things like “So long, and thanks for all the fish”. One of these is so cultish it even has a userbox template on the Wiki. I’ve seen the template several times on various editors’ userpages. What troubles me is…

I’ve already mentioned here, probably more than once, that my life seems to be rather full of embarrasing symbolism and coincidences. I often create the symbols myself, admitted. But why the heck did I have to find out about the origin of “the 42 answer” just a couple of months before my 42nd birthday?



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