Zaphod Beeblebrox. Now that is one hoopy frood. Of Douglas Adams’ crazy creations in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod works out as one of the more normal and acceptable. He is the self-involved politician, who holds no real power but is just a figurehead. Is he a parody of all politicians? A metaphor? Is he just the perfect politician – able to draw attention away from those with real power?
Who knows, but for some reason, this over-the-top character with two heads and three arms is an acceptable part of the universe. And he puts his position and situation to good use, stealing the Heart of Gold and allowing Adams to do literally whatever he wanted with these stories – thanks to the Infinite Improbability Drive. Ah, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it, and the second book, in particular. And if you like those, the whole series. But for now, a couple of great parts about Zaphod Beeblebrox!
A Piece of Fairy Cake
One of my favorite parts in the whole series is the idea of the Total Perspective Vortex – a machine which lets you see the whole of the universe, all of infinity, in relation to yourself. And as the Guide points out elsewhere, infinity divided by any finite number is close enough to zero as to be a moot point.
So in other words, something really, really big compared to something really, really small. In metaphor to a piece of fairy cake. It tends to break brains.
For everyone except Zaphod Beeblebrox. He goes in and finds out he is the most important thing in the universe.
And yes, he was sent into the machine in an alternate universe built for his purposes, so he was in fact the most important thing in that universe… nonetheless, when he finds out he is the most important thing in the universe, he is TOTALLY UNPHASED. He just accepts it. And that, really, is the definition of his character.
The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
Zaphod Beeblebrox is also credited with inventing the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, the most potent drink in creation. Wikipedia has a lot of great information on this drink, and since it’s there, I thought I would share a bit with you. The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster “is like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.”
And they include the full recipe on Wikipedia:
“Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it (in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia).
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Add an olive.
Drink…but very carefully.“
And with that, we’ve hit the whole alphabet! One A to Z Challenge down!