Towel Day

As a fan of everything Douglas Adams, Towel Day is a time to pay tribute to his memory and the incredible perspective he gave the Earth (quite boring name). Finding myself involved the world of Lost & Found everyday has created a much deeper appreciation of his many universes, and froods in general.

Much in the way that bricks don’t…

Douglas’s wholly unique viewpoint, from the misadventures of our favorite English carbon based life-form to detailing of the near extinct earth creatures (Kakapo personal favorite), was always expressed in a remarkable Adams’s-y way. (As a short aside, among many other, Mt Kilimanjaro has been booked for August and I will try my best retelling of that story)

I wanted to take the time to share some of my personal favorites from Douglas Adams’s Universes, all through my odd Lost & Found bent.

Accessible but Only Slightly

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent parked in front of the bulldozer retelling his journey of seeking information, fantastically told through the radio show, was the moment I knew I was hooked on Douglas Adams’s work. The lengths of absurdity being presented in perfectly acceptable, almost outwardly normal, way immediately resonated. It was only after joining a tech startup and changing the perspective of Lost & Found when that went beyond the amusing subconscious level. We can all empathize with Arthur’s outrage and more importantly have walked a mile in his shoes, whether it’s the typical robot telephone tree (PERSON…. GIVE ME A PERSON) or wandering around the long forgotten dungeons of a building hunting for the Lost & Found. When things go awry your likely jumping through hoops (with very little training in hoop jumping) for a resolution… but why?

Innovation: Sometimes presents in a Second Door

“Gravity,” said Dirk with a slightly dismissed shrug, “yes, there was that as well, I suppose. Though that, of course, was merely a discovery. It was there to be discovered.” “… You see?” he said dropping his cigarette butt, “They even keep it on at weekends. Someone was bound to notice sooner or later. But the catflap … ah, there is a very different matter. Invention, pure creative invention. It is a door within a door, you see.”
― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Adams’s own special perspective could take the everyday ordinary life, say an average (ok ok not so average) detective, and give it a fantastically amusing new meaning. A slight change in approach or context might have you arrive where you needed to be, but not necessarily where you intended.

Innovation and invention has much the same track record, a terrible idea for a global person to person Lost & Found solution (seriously check how bad it was) by coincidence puts you in the right place to make something truly impactful (where it started getting interesting). Turning the standard box (of no return) into joyful moments of “I can’t believe it’s back!!!” makes that experience just that much better.

“…much to the surprise of everyone else in the Galaxy who had not realized that the best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.” – Douglas Adams The Hitchkiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Happiness is a relative emotion. For the chronically unhappy, Arthur Dent in particular, those few cherished moments of joy are even more precious amidst the general gloom of everyday life.

Extreme peaks of anxiety and panic often (thanks Crowdfind) lead to an overcorrection of joy. While “a more mauve-y shade of pinky russet” may still be too lofty of a life goal, reuniting your car keys or child’s favorite toy will do for now.

Come on back to check out the next installment.
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