Monday, February 21, 2011

From the Vault II

"The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
`I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.
`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing."
- Douglas Adams from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Brad can quote that entire passage, start to finish, from memory. Still.

My love affair with Douglas Adams started on a spring afternoon in 1988. Brad showed up at my house after school with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in hand - a book I'd never heard of - and proceeded to tell me we would wile away the afternoon reading aloud to each other from the funniest book he'd ever read.

He was right.It was hysterical.

We laid on my bed for hours upon hours, taking turns by chapter, reading to one another, creating voices for all the characters, stopping only to giggle and occasionally to pee.

It was one of the rare occasions my mom was in town - perhaps it was a weekend day? - and she kept poking her head in the room to see what in the world we could possibly be doing to keep us in peals of laughter. I suspect she thought we were high.

It's one of my most favorite memories...of that time period and of Brad.

Since then, I've read each one of the books in the series multiple times. I've never had the chance to read them aloud with anyone else again. It's too bad really. They lose something when read quietly to oneself. Maybe I should call him and ask him to come read to me.

I wonder if it would be the same?

I wonder if it would be better?

I wonder if the word "yellow" will ever stop being funny.

I like the cover. "Don't Panic". It's the first helpful or intelligible thing anyone's said to me all day.

1 comment:

Geekin' Hard said...

Maybe it's a Brad thing but that is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever created. Douglas Adams was a genius and I'm glad you got to discover it with a Brad. :)