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Still not panicking

You are doing o.k.? Blood pressure, pulse and perspiration in line?

…we continue the “Hitchhiker’s quotes” drill from the previous post 🙂

“Hey, er, why can’t I see you?” he said. “Why aren’t you here?” “I am here,” said the voice slowly. “My body wanted to come but it’s a bit busy at the moment. Things to do, people to see.” After what seemed like a sort of ethereal sigh it added, “You know how it is with bodies.”

*

The Universe—some information to help you live in it.

AREA: Infinite. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy offers this definition of the word “Infinite.” Infinite:Bigger than the biggest thing ever and then some. Much bigger than that in fact, really amazingly immense, a totally stunning size, real “wow, that’s big,” time. Infinity is just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy. Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we’re trying to get across here.

IMPORTS: None. It is impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from.

EXPORTS: None. See Imports.

POPULATION: None. It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

MONETARY UNITS. None. In fact there are three freely convertible currencies in the Galaxy, but none of them count. The Altairian Dollar has recently collapsed, the Flainian Pobble Bead is only exchangeable for other Flainian Pobble Beads, and the Triganic Pu has its own very special problems. Its exchange rate of eight Ningis to one Pu is simple enough, but since a Ningi is a triangular rubber coin six thousand eight hundred miles along each side, no one has ever collected enough to own one Pu. Ningis are not negotiable currency, because the Galactibanks refuse to deal in fiddling small change. From this basic premise it is very simple to prove that the Galactibanks are also the product of a deranged imagination.

ART: None. The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn’t a mirror big enough—see point one.

SEX: None. Well, in fact there is an awful lot of this, largely because of the total lack of money, trade, banks, art or anything else that might keep all the nonexistent people of the Universe occupied. However, it is not worth embarking on a long discussion of it now because it really is terribly complicated. For further information see Guide Chapters seven, nine, ten, eleven, fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one to eight-four inclusive, and in fact most of the rest of the Guide.

*

It is worth repeating at this point the theories that Ford had come up with, on his first encounter with human beings, to account for their peculiar habit of continually stating and restating the very very obvious, as in “It’s a nice day,” or “You’re very tall,” or “So this is it, we’re going to die.” His first theory was that if human beings didn’t keep exercising their lips, their mouths probably shriveled up.

*

After a few months of observation he had come up with a second theory, which was this—“If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, their brains start working.” In fact, this second theory is more literally true of the Belcerebon people of Kakrafoon.

*

He gestured at the door. “Out,” he said. People who can supply that amount of firepower don’t need to supply verbs as well.

*

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

Do you have favourite quotes from Douglas Adams?

Please share them in the comments below. 🙂

Still in phase “where-to-eat”,

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About JustEnglish.me

This blog is Zoe's way to spread the joy of finding and learning interesting bits about English. Join her and learn something new every time.

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  1. Meet Douglas Adams « Just English - August 14, 2012

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