I am being toasted…but…very carefully…
I don’t mean in the fork-and-flame manner, nor yet in the entirely more modern shiny-box-that-goes-ding-when-there’s-stuff manner. The manner is my lovely colleague Jenna St. Hilaire calling us all (whoever ‘we’ may be) to ‘raise Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters and toast Mr. Pond, who made me read this book.’
This gives me the occasion to make suitable remarks in reply. As you very carefully wrap your minds around the insidious effects of Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, permit me to present you with a transcript of my reply:
Ladies and Gentlemen and Crustaceanoids and Superintelligent Shades of the Colour Blue:
Thank you all very much, in your respective linguistic and mental encodings (applause). You are all too kind. (Hear, hear.) This is the third time in my life that I have been toasted, although since it involves Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, I’m comforted in knowing that no one will remember it in the morning (laughter).
It is quite true that I recommended Jenna acquire a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the practical reason that she was skipping around several constellations without it (oh shame!), and I am delighted to see she has acquired a copy. (Cheering.)
But I think you ought to know that I did not recommend it on the spurious idea that writers must only read in their genre. (No, no!) Any more than my application of the R17 theorem is an endorsement of all the hypotheses of White and Strunk (laughter). Rather, I think a formula which encourages what Jonson called ‘the art to blot’ and a book which offers at least one answer to life, the universe, and everything ought to be assured of a home on the well-equipped writer’s shelf. (Applause.) If only for historical interest (laughter).
Now, I know we’ve really all gathered to watch the end of the universe, and I believe—yes?—the band has a few more numbers they want to play before then (applause). Is one of them 42? (Polite laughter.) But first I must return the toast, and have us all raise another Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (oooh!) to Jenna—an esteemed colleauge and good friend. (Hear, hear! Cheers.)
And in fact, I’ve written a little poem for just such an occasion as this. (Sudden silence.) Well, not a poem really—ha, ha—more a few bits of verse. (Continued silence.) Not wishing to delay the main entertainment of the evening, of course, but I thought you’re all lucky enough that I’m reading my poetry first, ha ha. (A weakening in the Force.)
Er, how are we for time? Have I just got a min—
(And so the Universe ended.)