It was my birthday last week. It’s not a day in the calendar I have great affection for as, believe it or not from someone who chooses to share snippets of his life online, I really don’t like the attention. This year is different, however.
You see, this year I turned 42. If you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this may not mean much to you, so I ought to explain. In this series of books, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.
That’s quite something, I’m sure you’ll agree. So it would be remiss of me as a fan of Douglas Adams’ fantastic ‘trilogy of five’ not to look for hidden meaning in the particular landmark I’ve achieved without having to do much.
First things first, I am pretty much the same age as the first book. I was born within a month of its publication. And, yes, I know there was a radio series first, but that’s not convenient for my daft whimsy, so I’ll sidestep that one.
Secondly, I spent many happy Friday lunchtimes in the pub from the TV adaptation. It was the only other non-residential building near where I worked for five years so it would have been rude not to. If I were to guess how many pints per year I enjoyed there, it would almost certainly be 42.
The third piece of evidence is that, when challenged by a clothing brand to dress as my fashion icon for a gift-based blog collaboration, I chose to be the main character Arthur Dent, who is forever in his nightwear. The pyjamas are great for getting forty winks in – and that’s close enough.
So am I, indeed, the answer to the ultimate question? Well, I can’t prove that I’m not so it remains a possibility. Or perhaps 42 will be where I find some kind of meaning again after putting life on hold.
Two years ago, I decided to test the age-old belief that life begins at 40. Immediately afterwards, we went through the circus of moving home. And immediately after that, the world went into lockdown.
So that particular item – namely living rather than merely existing – remains on the to-do list. Maybe the ultimate question should therefore be “when does life begin?”
Although it’s probably just “What is six times seven?” I’ll let you know…