Ah, Douglas Adams. Talk about another formative book/author. I had only been friends with Joel for weeks, or possibly months, when he pressed THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY into my hand. One long gulp later, and I’d read all four books in the HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE “trilogy”.
For me, I think of all of those books as a single piece, and their surreal, science-fictional whimsy tweaked some kind of humor center in my brain, nudging it slightly off-kilter. Actually, I’m not sure I remember having much of sense of humor before reading Douglas Adams. Am I ascribing too much importance to the man? Maybe, but I do know that much of humor from the age of 12 to 15 involved reciting Adams humorous set-pieces and recreating Monty Python dialogue, from QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL, natch.
It’s not so much that I was a humorless child, although I remember myself being an oh-so-serious one, drawn, usually, more to the gloomy and doomy. Hey, I liked Winnie-the-Pooh as much as the next guy, but it was also Eeyore that I felt the closest to, with his thistles and mournful birthday parties, ever uplifted by the love and kindness of friends.
Even now, with those who’ve known me longest, I feel like I labor under the misapprehension that I never josh, or joke, or giggle. It’s true, much of my humor–the stuff that most tickles me–involves playing the straight man to the world’s goofballs and weirdos, pretending as though all their most wacky pronouncements are true true true. It’s my version of the improvvers “yes, and…” Without being fed those whacked out lines, I flounder in the subtlety of my own humor, because it begins to seem like not so much a joke at all.
So, Douglas Adams has much to answer for, providing me with one exit door out from my gloomy room. As far as the RESTAURANT goes, as an individual book, it’s time-loosed restaurant itself that stands out, with the beast offering itself up for dinner, and the glorious view onto the beginning and end of the universe. POW!