Oh no, not again

Amazing illustration by John Martz from here.

Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had been suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

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And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

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This is a complete record of its thought from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it:


Ah . . . ! What’s happening? it thought.

Er, excuse me, who am I?

Hello?

Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now . . . oh! this is an interesting what is it?

It’s sort of . . . yawning, tingling sensation in my . . . my . . . well, I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for that sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that . . . wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do . . . perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for.

It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This . . . let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail.

Hey! I can really thrash it about pretty good, can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now, have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No.

Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation . . . Or is it the wind?
There really is a lot of that now, isn’t there? And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming toward me very fast? Very, very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide-sounding name like . . . ow . . . ound . . . round . . . ground! That’s it! That’s a good name- ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was

Oh no, not again.

Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.

-Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I’m on quite the little Sci-Fi kick, n’est pas?

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3 thoughts on “Oh no, not again

  1. Thanks for sharing this – I like these sort of accessible yet profound stories! Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been on my ‘to-read’ list for far too long and I have now encouraged it to jump the queue!

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