Douglas Adams (YGtCTO Words #59)

Last Chance to See

Book written by Douglas Adams

Honestly, he wrote other stuff.

But it all has to start with the book.

I found my copy beneath the Yule tree, a gift from by brother and sister-in-law. At the time of purchase, I’m not sure how much they knew about it beyond scanning the first few pages. I think they said that it seemed funny. I was probably the sort of youth that occasionally looked like he could use a little funny, like so many other youths.

They were right. It did seem funny. And rather difficult to explain.

I returned to school and made the unexpected observation that numerous other students seemed to be bent over the very same book while downing their cafeteria food. A few lingered in their chairs beside desolated trays. Who knew that a young man traveling around the universe with his towel would allow so many to identify so well?

In retrospect, the book was quite odd, like reading a Monty Python script without having seen any of the shows. A fierce intelligence seems to be buried within the text as well as a wealth of sarcasm. Yet, some sort of emotional core seeps through as well. Is it really possible to empathize with a whale that has only now popped into existence for a brief, unfortunate plummet? (I did read all the books in the trilogy- I’ll let you count them.)

Like so many others, I was delighted to read whatever Adams wrote. In those authorially-alphabetized sections of bookstores, his last name made the short list of place to check for anything interesting. (Poor Richard Adams was unfairly responsible for more than a little disappointment.)

I loved Dirk Gently, a character who managed the miracle of allowing the reader to project his own mildly heroic qualities into the novel. Come to think of it, that is the wonder of all the best protagonists, isn’t it?

Douglas Adams

this non-fiction book falls from the sky. What do you make of that, eh? So, Douglas Adams is a world traveler now, eh? Good on him. But what’s he going on about? Beasts that are disappearing through extinction?

I honestly thought that if anyone was going to change the world and make it a safe place for people and the rest of the animal kingdom, then Douglas Adams was the man to do it. Of course that was never going to be the case. But he certainly did his bit.

I don’t agree with people’s dismay when someone well-known spouts off about some issue or other. If Adams wants us to spend a few minutes thinking about extinction and the environment, then swell. The fault is in the hyping of the opinion. You write a book, then you seem to have given the issue some thought. You spout into a microphone, then that deserves the same level of thought you gave your fulmination.

Recently, Stephen Fry followed up on Adams’ travels. I’ve been a little hesitant to watch. It’s a little like joining Facebook and seeing who’s dead and dying. A certain degree of ill-defined responsibility suddenly accrues. If only someone like Adams were around to put all this dithering in its place?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 124 more to go.

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