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Goodnight, Marvin

Goodnight, Marvin

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Published by Maria Alexander
An In Memoriam for Douglas Adams that was published by Benbella Books, April 2005, pg. 198-199 of The Anthology at the End of the Universe: Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
An In Memoriam for Douglas Adams that was published by Benbella Books, April 2005, pg. 198-199 of The Anthology at the End of the Universe: Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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Published by: Maria Alexander on May 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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as published byBenbella Books, April 2005, pg. 198-199
May 12, 2001This is a very sad day.I woke up this morning and got ready to see the press screening of 
withmy friend Abbie. I was completely unaware that something singular had happened inthe world—in
world—the day before and a strange nostalgia fogged my head. For the first time in nearly sixteen years, I put on a very special shirt: a baseball jersey withcobalt blue sleeves. On the front of the white, see-through part of the jersey, it says,"Don't Panic"; on the back it reads, "Re-elect Zaphod Beeblebrox for President." Mymother made that shirt for my fifteenth birthday. I wore it this morning because Isuddenly felt like it for no apparent reason.I was (and still am) a huge Douglas Adams fan. I loved everything the man saidand wrote. He single-handedly shaped my sense of humor, made me an Anglophile,and crowned me Queen of Geekdom at my junior high and high school. At band camp,my friends and I even wore towels slung over our shoulders and asked others, "Do youknow where your towel is?" We would squint at the other band geeks, saying, “But therearen’t any real people here at all!” We were hopeless nerds. Yet, we were unique.I couldn't wait to get a picture of Douglas Adams. I had the biggest, mostawful crush on him. Once I did get his picture, I was very disappointed. Mymother found me frowning over it in the
TV Guide
.“What’s wrong?” she asked."He's old and tall and silly looking," I lamented.My mother shrugged. "Well, honey, sometimes men are like that."I discovered him in my early teens when I was listening to NPR. That’swhen I first heard the banjo strains that opened each episode of the
Hitchhiker'sGuide to the Galaxy 
radio series. Suddenly, life in a joyless religious home wasnot so bad. He was shockingly blasphemous, with all his tidbits about God; I tried
somehow to reconcile my beliefs with how much I enjoyed him, but it never worked. Still, I listened. And I laughed.I recorded every episode onto tapes that are now brittle and dusty. To thisday, I keep them in a wobbly shoe box, even though I bought the official BBCtapes long ago. My little sister once copied over part of Episode Four withMichael Jackson songs. Just after I assured her that there was "a special place inheaven for little sisters," my mother walked in. If it had only been a few minuteslater, I would have been an only child again.But Douglas Adams did so much more than
Hitchhiker's Guide
. He wrotefive HG books altogether, two Dirk Gently novels (which inspired my novelette“Samantha Blazes: Psychic Detective of L.A.”),
The Meaning of Liff 
and more.I once sent him a "belated birthday" letter—somewhere around threemonths after his birthday. I wanted to make it a habit, but I forgot more often thannot. I told him in the letter about the “Don’t Panic” shirt, and said that I hadn’tworn it in years because it was “entirely see-through.” (You could see my bra. Itembarrassed me to death as a teen.) I wanted to make him laugh because hisinsane sense of humor taught a thirteen-year-old girl how to laugh when lifebetrayed her. His humor and irreverence gave her a chance to enjoy life whenfaith and family failed.This morning, we saw
and I laughed a lot—something I do quite abit these days. I went home afterwards to write. But this evening, Abbie called meto tell me that Douglas Adams died yesterday of a heart attack. He was onlyforty-nine. When we hung up, I cried. And I cried. I didn't know him as some of you did. Maybe he was too old and tall and silly, but I loved him anyway in myown special way. He is a part of me and always will be. And I think it was hisghost whispering to me as I dressed this morning, saying, “Well, now that I’mdead, let’s have a look at you in that see-through shirt, shall we?”Goodnight, Marvin. At least now that pain in all the diodes down your leftside has stopped. But I will really, really miss you. . . .

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