On My Birthday – The Meaning Of Life

On My Birthday – The Meaning Of Life

Earlier this morning I became 42; the meaning of life.

See. Only really, truly wonderfully geeked out individuals understand what that last sentence even means. I am 42, the age of the meaning of life. I’ll back up a bit for you.

The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“, calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet was built from organic components and named “Earth”.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is geek-literature 101. Its sort of an Alice in Wonderland sort of experience for the modern era. Its a riot that a civilization creates a super computer to give the answer to the meaning of life, and after millions of years of waiting the civilization holds an enormous party and awaits the answer. The computer complies and gives the answer, 42. They realized they had the answer, but the didn’t have the question. So that same civilization decides to build an even bigger and better computer, which they call Earth, in order to ascertain the question to the meaning of life. Then they send higher life forms to watch the inhabitants of Earth called Lab Mice, and Dolphins. These two animals have been doing tests on human kind for thousands of years in the hope of divining the question.

But the ironic thing is that, in so doing, if true, we, the inhabitants of earth, actually have the meaning of life. Our life anyway. Our meaning is to figure out the question to the meaning of life, by participating in the universe’s largest super computer ever built. Douglas Adams was truly a brilliant author and thinker of inside out thoughts that are worth exploring if for no other reason than for the chuckles. So thus explained why 42 is important in the world of the geek I’ll move on.

Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of interviewing some really interesting people. Directors. Writers. Game developers. All fascinating in their own way. Some I continue to correspond with to this day. A few were enlightening. But I figured, as a bit of a joke, and a bit of an exercise in Kabuki Theater-ness… I would interview myself with a few off the wall questions. These questions have all come from a number of different sites wherein strange interview questions were detailed. You can see more example questions here.


“If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?”

None. Zero. But I’d still like to be super rich so I could develop my own technology like Batman. Superhero powers seem like such a cop-out. I’d want to help people and fight evil regardless of whether I had super-strength or super-speed.

“Pepsi or Coke?”

Monster. Or if you are forcing the point. Pepsi by way of Mountain Dew. But if you disallow even that… then Pepsi with real sugar… in a bottle. I do actually like Mexican Coke in a bottle extraordinarily well. Definitely try to get it every time I’m in the region. But I am a Pepsi guy for sure. Of late though I’ve really fallen in love with Monster.

“What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?”

Are we playing out the movie Alive here? If so, I’d just start in on packing up as much meat from my fellow survivors as possible and start hiking. We all know how that played out. If we are talking about the movie K2 I’d hunt through the wreckage and make absolutely, 100% certain that there really weren’t any survivors. Because, that one guy that shows up down at the base of the mountain afterwards would just ruin your life later. Just saying.

“If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?”

I would be most flattered if Jesse Eisenberg played me. But unfortunately, I’m sure someone like Russell Crowe would be chosen instead.

“What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?”

Funny stuff happens all the time. Life is funny. Um, this weekend we had family over and my son and his cousin were messing around with a science experiment kit thing. And one of the things they were playing with was basically a hand made water rocket. They had filled it up with water and were using a bicycle tire pump to fill it with air. And they had the attention of everyone at the party and were showing us all what they’d built. And sure enough the rocket fired about 20 feet into the air. So I asked if I could help them out a second. Of course they said, and so I filled the bottle until it was only about a third full… and while I was out of view I jammed the stopper as hard as I could into the bottle. This time when the bottle water rocket launched the psi was somewhere around 60 and it launched at least 300 feet. And when it went off it was such a shock and surprise that I’m thinking everyone on the deck thought they were about to die. It was funny… at least to me anyway. hehehe.

“What do you think of garden gnomes?”

Impish little bastages scare me to death.

“Say you are dead- what do you think your eulogy would say about you.”

No idea. Good question actually. I am certain 9 times out of 10 people will say that I make them laugh. But that would be quite sad to have 90% of all the people you know say that you make them laugh and that be it. Sure, a smile and laughter is a valuable commodity. And sure, everyone likes the life of the party. But there has got to be more to life than a laugh.

I would hope that a significant number of people would also say that I cared very much about the meaning and purpose of life. That I worked hard to share that meaning with as many people as I could while I was on earth. That I lived intently and purposefully. I would hope that some would say that I was a good and trustworthy friend.

And I also hope they would share about the adventures we had together. The trips to Mexico and craziness we saw there. The flights around the world and the beyond crazy we experienced at each stop. The bets we’ve made, the dares we’ve challenged each other with, the drive and push for more, bigger and better. I hope someone would tell the story about my singing the Mary Poppins’ tunes on a British wall after a pint and re-snapping my ACL on the way down. I would hope that someone would tell the stories of stealing the Twilight standee from the movie theater because Bella & Edmond. I would hope that someone would tell the story of when a woman drove her car through the video store I was managing. Or about the time Carolynne and I got locked out of the Parisian metro at 2 am on our way back from hopping the fence at Euro-Disney to see the fireworks. I would hope that my friends would say that I pushed them to be a better person and more fulfilled as a human. That I walked arm with my friends and was there for them when they needed me.

“If a taxi and a limo cost exactly the same, which would you choose?”

Duh. Limo. Next.

“Does life fascinate you?”

I would say that it does. We’ve all been dropped into the cauldron of this experience together. We are all undergoing very similar experiences and shared griefs and exultations. And so when we really are experiencing others and this life that we’ve been given, we are closer to something really great.

I’m an intensely curious person. Painfully so. When my wife and I went to Cancun a year or two back, I was fascinated by the pool hands that were expected to keep us rich folk happy. They were just completely ignored out of hand. And I thought, I wonder who these guys are? Why are they here? Do they like us? Do they hate us? So I asked one. And just like that he told me. And the next thing I know he invited me to come home with him and to go to church with him. That was a truly real experience. That is fascinating to me. I’ve been wanting to do something similar here on the blog wherein I interview random people – not famous, not important for any other reason than they are humans walking through this life together with us – and find out what makes them tick. But it always comes off as weird. I’ve even tried emailing hundreds of random people interview questions, but not one responded! hahah.


Alright, with that, join me in celebrating the meaning of life and the year 42! Thanks for putting up with my interviewing myself. hahaha. Sometimes its fun being completely tactless.