Over the past few years, a t-shirt craze has started with “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic” plastered on the front. There have been variations of these shirts further indigenized to other properties. Most anyone who reads the words, “Don’t Panic” immediately move towards the stories of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. There are several catchphrases, symbols and slogans that find their origins from these stories. The only symbol that might rival “Don’t Panic” is “42.” Even now, 42 doesn’t get as much express love as “Don’t Panic,” but look for geeky, nerdy things and you will find it.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the more influential books in my life because it constantly reminds me that I have a tendency to focus on things that are not really essential in the grand scheme of life. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama of people or institutions being stupid while missing out on what makes life enjoyable. Though the concept is not new (see Plato’s The Republic), Adams has a very humorous way of telling how to move beyond one’s problems. For instance, are you worried about a bypass being constructed where your house is currently located? One solution to help you move forward is finding out that the planet where your house is currently located has been destroyed. Problem solved!
One of my all-time favorite quotes from the book comes from the book, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, “There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” I’m still working on developing that quote into something else. In any case, we always get to experience the ground. How often do you get to be away from the ground? No, airplanes don’t count.
In Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams does a great job of seeing the world differently with lots of humor. In this way, he has been my inspiration and influential for my life.