derekfetters

42

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I feel a smidge broken. My doctor tells me I have plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the spongy material in your heel, and I’m laid up in bed for having sprained my back. I am pretty sure this is the culmination of being on my feet and lifting heavy boxes as a retail bookseller for 17 years. No longer being young doesn’t help either. At the end of this year I turn 42 and, as Douglas Adams fans know, that number is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. I could really use, as could we all, a meaningful answer to the question that is my life in this upcoming year.

If you’re unfamiliar, the meaning of the number 42 was posited by Adams in his story The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For those of you who never read the book, saw the movie or tv show, heard the radio play, or played the video game, here’s the lowdown: In the story, it’s discovered that the Earth is actually a giant computer. It was created by another giant computer named Big Thought, who had calculated that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything was, in fact, 42. When Big Thought’s creators expressed their dissatisfaction with this puzzling answer, the computer explained that the question was too vague. So the Earth was created in order to calculate just what the specific question was that 42 happened to be the answer to. Confusing? Absurd? Yes, just go with it.

So, according to this story we are basically running through these endless scenarios in order to understand the meaning of life, which is pretty much something we already knew. I am hoping that next year I will discover that the question is, “How many years does it take for someone to begin creating a personal understanding of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” Answer: 42.

I feel pretty confident that this will happen. I am already starting to change my life in meaningful ways. I’ve started this blog. I’ve finished a 9-month program at the University of Washington for Editing. And I edited a fantastic fantasy novel which should be out before the end of this year: Summerhawk by Peter Schmit. All of these are steps to get me moving into the realm of a new career. I’ve also started taking yoga. (I’ve only taken the introductory class. I feel if I had taken more classes in the last week, I might have avoided, prevented, or at least somewhat healed the damage done to me this week.) I’m also getting a new bike after my last one finally conked out beyond repair. I feel these new attempts at discipline in mind and body are at least a first step in finding the mental and physical resources to make something meaningful out of my life.

Not that my life is a mess. It’s just  since all I can do is lie here, trying not to move my back, I have plenty of time to think about life, the universe, and everything.

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  1. What a wonderful coincidence. And just when you needed to lie and think…

  2. I’d ask you to tell me the question when you figure it out but I suspect that we’re all given different ones.

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