As we take the time to peer up life’s proctological periscope in the hope of spotting some light beyond the ever tightening sphincter of lockdown, and dodge those sharp edged toast crusts that litter our path, I offer some light philosophy drawn from my regular muse and massager of my hippocampus, St Douglas of Adams and his seminal works on an ordered life and how to pair off odd socks when the washing machine eats yet another foot-glove. It should be compulsory reading in schools if such things still existed. If the Gideon Bible is always to be found in hotel bedrooms then Adams’ compendium should be hanging from string next to every toilet.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
By St. Douglas of Adams (I’ve said this, haven’t I?)
Here are some take-ways that help you survive another news bulletin.
Even the Vogons get to read their poetry
Vogon poetry is the worst in the universe. Their captain reads it to Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, admittedly not willingly. But it gives all nascent performance poets hope, and if one day I’m in charge of an interstellar demolition fleet I too may get to read Le Pard’s first oeuvre to some passing hitch-hiker.
A cool frood always knows where his towel is
This reminds everyone of the essential rightness of one’s hyperawareness for personalised terrycloth. Clearly the towel is a metaphor for having about one’s person any form of absorbent material. Indeed note 25th May in your diaries as International Towel Day.
There is a restaurant at the end of the universe
Of course, at one level this idea encapsulates hope, hope that one day you too will reach a spectacular end if you strive for long enough and have enough patience. But the real message is more prosaic: that however much you might save and for however long, all you’ll end up with is enough for a bag of chips and a scrawny burger.
It’s the mice who run everything
A good reminder this that just because they are small and whiskery doesn’t mean they are unimportant; the young should bear this in mind when looking at we of more marinaded years.
I could never get the hang of Thursdays
It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged that each of us has a Dud-Day. Custom suggests Mondays as the start of a lot of working weeks but with seven days to choose from each person needs to understand when it is utterly excusable to pull the duvet back up, kill the alarm and just snuggle. If trains can be excused school because of the wrong sort of snow and children not beaten soundly because their homework is still proving in the airing cupboard, then adults should be entitled to their Dud-Day.
The world desperately needs to discover a babel fish
I hanker to travel more but part of why I don’t (there’s the time:money conundrum stuff but passing that by) is the fact not everyone speaks a version of English I can understand. I’m not saying they should (though good manners would suggest they give it serious thought). But, because they don’t and I will certainly not be able to speak whatever it is they are articulating, I end up either (a) frustrated because I can no more make myself understood than my dog when he pops out to the butchers to buy some sausages or (b) embarrassed that someone can speak English in a structured and intelligible way because they have made the effort to and, well, it rather shows me up as the lazy good for nothing tosser that I really am.
A lot of you might have expected me to comment on the unveiling, in amongst these other revelations of the fact that the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything is (spoiler alert)
That’s the thing and I learnt it years ago. It’s just a number and, well, as I hope we all know by now, it is that, whatever Life, the Universe and Everything looks like on the outside, inside it is whatever number it wants it to be. And that’s probably the most important take away for all of us. And it really didn’t need five books to show it.
Or you could be Dog and not real gives a manatee’s ballcock for philosophy.