So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Three Douglas Adams quotes that make me love So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish.

Before I start here, a quick question for my fellow readers. This big ol’ fat book is a collection of five novels in one binding. If you were going to count books, would you count this as one book, or five? I say five. These are the things I ponder in the evening before I sleep.

so long and thanks for all the fish

Second, I think that, so far, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is my favorite Douglas Adams novel. It’s the one with the most lol’s in the margin. And I’m not using that term figuratively. My husband believes I may be slightly more insane than I was before I started reading, because I’ve been bursting out in laughter every few pages. When I try to read to him what was funny or explain the joke, he just stares at me. Some people just don’t get it, but I still love him.

The following three quotes came up towards the end of the novel, and they just…well…you’ll see.

“Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do.”

The sign read:

“Hold stick near the center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.”

“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”

This has actually happened to me, several times. The first was this:

It’s an actual sign at Disneyland that my stepdaughter took note of. She about fell to the floor in astonishment but didn’t because she was still aware that she was in a public bathroom and just because it’s Disneyland does not mean it’s clean enough to roll around on doubled up in laughter. She was still sane at the time. Please do not attempt to explain this to me. It is not the only incident, and it will not be the last.

“But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that. I’ll show you something to demonstrate that later. So, the other reason I call myself Wonko the Sane is so that people will think I’m a fool. That allows me to say what I see when I see it. You can’t possibly be a scientist if you mind people thinking that you’re a fool.”

This should be quoted in every science class, everywhere. It’s not only good for scientists, it’s a good rule for anyone attempting to live in the world we actually experience and a great way to make it a slightly better place.

“I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”

“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

“No,” said Ford, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

I don’t think I need to expound on this commentary on the political thought process. For those that believe this has only been the case the last few elections here in the US, this book was published in 1984 in the UK.

Every time I open the book to read, I hear this.

Next up, Mostly Harmless! I’m so glad I decided to re-read all of these. It’s been a wonderful romp.


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