25th of May is Towel Day, a tribute to the late Douglas Adams who died 11th May 2001. I do not actually wear a towel (at least not physically – I guess whosoever read Adams will forever wear a towel in their mind), but I found the obituary I wrote all those years ago and so it might as well republish it for the occasion.
“nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys it`s own special rules. the hingefreed people of arkintoofle minor did try to build spaceships that were powered by bad news but they didn`t work particular well and were so extremenly unwelcome when they arrived anywhere that there wasn`t really any point in being there.”
douglas adams “mostly harmless”
we’ve now spent more than a month looking for the hingefreed people of arkintoofle minor, since we felt an urgent desire to meet them, to shake tentacles with them and to tell them to piss off immidiately. most suprisingly we didn`t find them, although there were certainly very bad news around.
could it be true? could the man who inventend the man who invented the pangalatic gargleblaster just, you know, die? we hoped it would turn out as a joke. this was infinitly impropable, since the jokes of this particular man used to be particular funny in almost exactly the same way the bad news mentioned above wasn`t. but because of the quasi-reciprocial and circular nature of all improbalitiy calculations, everything that was infinitely improbable was actually very likely to happen, so there was a glimpse of hope. unfortunately, bad news obeys it’s own special rules, so the joke turned out to be plain true: douglas noel adams died on friday, 11th of may, following an heart attack.
douglas adams as a writer guided his readers hitchhiking through the galaxy, took them for dinner at the restaurant at the end of the universe, provided the answer (alas not the question) to life, the universe and everything, bade a prophetic so long and thanks for all the fish before he classified – his only known error – earth as mostly harmless. he wrote dirk gently’s holistic detective agency, the long dark tea-time of the soul, and, together with john loyd, the meaning of liff, which, in many of the more relaxed english speaking civilizations, has already supplanted websters complete and unabriged new riverside university dictionary as the standard repository of all knowlegde and wisdom. in 1990 he teamed up with zoologist mark carwardine and wrote last chance to see, a tremendously funny book about the tremendously desperate efforts to save tremendously endangered species.
adams, who was admittedly fond of computers, was also a founder-director of digital village, a digital media and internet company that launched the starship titanic and he successfully adapted the ‘hitchhikers guide’ to earthling conditions and to the internet.
from his writings, one can characterize adams as a gentle, goodhearted, graceful genius, although we guess that any appropriate alternative alliteration also applies.
with adams´ untimely demise, a unique sense of humor has become extinct. if you want to spare some amiable creatures a similar fate, please donate to the dna memorial funds of douglas’ favourite charities:
dian fossey gorilla fund
save the rhino