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10 Quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Get You Through 2017

Simon Owens By Simon Owens Published on July 24, 2017
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Douglas Adams

For many, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remains the peak of the science-fiction-comedy crossover. Others have attempted to dethrone it, but few can match Adams’ combination of off-the-wall humour and skillful deployment of words outside their normal context. Despite the fact that the book was first released in 1979, the book’s fundamentally strange sense of humour and razor-sharp critiques of everyday life are still very relevant to the world we live in today. Indeed, it’s increasingly difficult to argue that we don’t live in a science-fiction-comedy crossover.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered a list of ten of the quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that have helped us hobble through the last year or so.

In these dark and trying times, we return constantly to the prophetic rumination that,

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

Remember the heady days of mid-2016? Do you remember when we told ourselves, full of wisdom, “Don’t worry, even if he did get elected, there are all kinds of checks and balances. If he tried anything crazy he’d just be impeached.”

We should have learned from Adams’ wisdom then too…

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

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The first great piece of advice from The Hitchhiker's Guide

Still, we find ourselves holding our breath, and waiting for the seemingly-inevitable to finally happen. How many times have you opened the news in the last year and thought, “Ah, there it is, that’s the final nail. Surely it’ll all come crashing down any second…”

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

The past year has been, at best, a tumultuous one for all of us, but sometimes even the tumult seems like it’s going too far. Every day, the news is stranger and more outlandish. At this point, all we want is for the fear to be a bit more predictable.

This, it turns out, is not a new sentiment.

“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”

Of course, that leaves us all in the situation we’re in now, where things constantly decline and there’s no end in sight.

“Funny,” he intoned funereally, “how just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does.”

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When things are this bad for this long, it’s possible to find yourself 

thinking, “Is death the only escape from all of this?” This is a tempting train of thought, but if you really think about it, you’ll realise the same truth as we have… Death might be an escape, but at this stage we’d probably make a mess of that too.

“I don't want to die now!" he yelled. "I've still got a headache! I don't want to go to heaven with a headache, I'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it!”

If it’s all beginning to feel a little overwhelming, then don’t worry. Arthur Dent offered a wonderful piece of advice for people who find themselves in situations beyond their control or understanding, asking,

“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”

If this has built up a picture of a world on a steady course for total catastrophe, then you’re not alone. Still, for those of you reading this from an archaeological dig in the distant future, we know how we must appear to you...

“We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.”

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The Babelfish allows readers to read The Hitchhiker's Guide in any language

You may think that our current situation might be solvable if people could just work together to make the world a better and more honest place, but frankly that doesn’t seem very likely. In any case, we’re excused.

“My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre,” Ford muttered to himself, “and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes.”

The above sort of assumes that you really want to save the universe, but let’s not kid ourselves… most of us don’t really understand enough about the universe around us to know whether or not it’s even really worth saving. Worse still, it resists just about all attempts to understand it

The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.
I am a man who enjoys hiking and woodland walks. I love the smell of freshly cut grass and of wild onions in early spring.


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