on this story
Like life, the universe and the Hitchhiker's Guide to Douglas Adams
by Scott McNutt
On March 11, 42,424,242 B.C., the reign of the dinosaurs ended when a large chunk of space debris smacked into the Earth. This made the small furry creatures on whom the dinosaurs dined very happy. For about forty-two hundredths of a second. Then they were mostly wiped out too.
After the shock waves died down, the surviving furry creatures gathered around their sage to have this devastation explained. The old greyfur reared up on its haunches. "Don't panic!" quoth it. "It is God's will..." was as far as it got before its fur was set afire by the sulfuric acid pouring from the black, sooty clouds above.
When it was all over, the few remaining sapient creatures were extremely hacked off with God. "God," they said, "Why do You let these large chunks of debris randomly slam into populated, mostly harmless worlds?" The answer came back: "Thank you for staying on the line. Your business is extremely important to Us..." The sapient creatures stayed on the line for another several million years, until they evolved into something else and forgot the whole incident.
On March 11, 8,484 B.C., in Mesopotamia, a great leap forward in humanity's progress occurred, just after breakfast. What happened was, the king decided he wanted a bypass built (experts agree this was either Nubuknekkidreszer or Gigolomash; or possibly Mushi-Bananapal...or Tinky Winky III). But a house happened to be in the way. So it was demolished.
On this particular morning, one of the workers assigned to the house's demolition got tired of carrying armloads of bricks. His gaze fell upon a piece of cloth lying on the ground. He dumped his bricks on it, folded up the corners, slung it across his back, and went more efficiently on his way. Soon all the other workers were doing the same.
Later, when the sun became blazing hot, he wrapped his cloth around his loins, the better to protect his heretofore public parts. Again, the others mimicked him. At tea time, the same worker tossed the cloth on the ground and went to sleep on it. Again, the others imitated him. In the evening, after consuming mass quantities of Pan-Eurasian Giggle Boosters (the forerunner of the justly famous Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster), this clever fellow used his cloth to strangle a guy he suspected of cheating at dice. Following suit, the other workers whipped off their cloths and strangled the clever fellow. Then they strangled each other for good measure. Thus was invented that incredibly versatile accessory, the towel.
On March 11,1952, mankind took another great stride forward with the birth of what would grow up to be an unusually tall Englishman. Nor was his size the only thing that set him apart. No, in adolescence, his acne set him apart, too. But, as is the case with so much of life, this phase passed, and Douglas Adams, now grown tall, became accepted in society once more.
Then he took up a career in radio and was promptly ostracized again. "Wha'd'ya want'a go and do that for, Douglas?" his friends and family asked. "'Thur's no future in't." But the tall Englishman had a vision (and also a fondness for baths on Sunday afternoons): He would create a grand, sweeping, cosmic epic, one that encompassed the entire history of the galaxy and the importance of towels therein, and one that would somehow, someday, somewhere, feature an episode about baths. And so was born "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." The rest you probably know: The fame, the fortune, the relapse, the recovery, the numerous affairs: Cher, Madonna, Cher, Madonna, Cher, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna, Paul Simon.
Sadly, this genius-madman died abruptly on May 12, 2001. "It happens all the time," people said. "It's just life. Funny old thing, life," they said.
On May 12, 2121, a large asteroid was found to be on a collision course with the Earth. Unfortunately, because Hollywood had already made many bad movies about just such a catastrophe, no one had taken seriously the possibility of such a thing actually occurring. So everybody prayed. And the answer came back: "Thank you for staying on the line..."
Accident? Coincidence? Fate? Nah. It's just life. Funny old thing, life.
Doug, so long and thanks for all the fish.
"Laughs." I meant "laughs."
June 28, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 26
© 2001 Metro Pulse