42 Ways to Celebrate an Auspicious Anniversary

Image: Sarah Pinault

42 years ago on this day, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4. While it was broadcast to relatively little fanfare, it quickly developed a cult following and is one of the most beloved sci-fi universes in the UK. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy played a huge part in my own genesis as a geek. My parents listened to the show together when they were first married. The mini-series was one of the earliest sci-fi shows that my dad introduced me too; it was later one of the first things my new American husband and I watched together. The video game on the Commodore 64 was the first video game I ever played. Throughout my life, whenever the number 42 came up, I could look around the room, see who smiled, and know instantly who my people were.

So in honor of this day, I offer up 42 suggestions of things you might feasibly, and less feasibly, do to mark the launch of a sci-fi behemoth.

  1. Launder your towels.
  2. Lie down in front of a bulldozer.
  3. Watch 42 minutes of the original BBC show.
  4. Make a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
  5. Go to your fish counter, or local fishmonger, and thank them for all the fish.
  6. Watch Monty Python sketch 42:16.
  7. Write some awful poetry.
  8. Watch 42 minutes of the new movie.
  9. Ask Siri what the answer to life, the universe, and everything is.
  10. Give a dramatic reading of The Hunting of the Snark.
  11. Greet everyone today with the words “Don’t Panic.”
  12. Help 42 people register to vote.
  13. Watch Stargate Atlantis season 4, episode 13, “Quarantine.”
  14. Book a seat on the next available space flight.
  15. Send 42 emails to your congressperson.
  16. Tweet 42 42-character tweets.
  17. Read the first 42 pages of each book.
  18. Listen to 42 minutes of the radio show.
  19. Send 42 flowers to someone you love.
  20. Eat 42 English toffees.
  21. Watch Doctor Who series 3, episode 7, “42.”
  22. Play Trivial Pursuit and stop after 42 questions. Whoever has a towel with them is the winner.
  23. Solve the Rubik’s cube in 42 moves.
  24. Fertilize your cauliflower beds with Molybdenum powder.
  25. Climb to a mile high and yell “leave the court” through a megaphone.
  26. Ride all the elevators in the Rockefeller Center.
  27. Visit Czechoslovakia.
  28. Play Cribbage—the first person to 42 points wins the game.
  29. Re-energize by eating 42 peanuts.
  30. Make a $42 donation to Save the Rhino.
  31. Have trout for supper, and tell your fellow diner that you doubt it is salmon.
  32. Give 42 people a high five.
  33. Send 42 text messages asking people where their towels are.
  34. Take a shot of 42 below.
  35. Play 42 rounds of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.
  36. Play a card game, but use only 42 cards of the 52 card deck.
  37. Go to Starbucks, order an exceptionally complicated coffee, give the name Slartibartfast.
  38. Visit your local fjord.
  39. Do a 42 dot dot-to-dot puzzle.
  40. Spend 42 minutes looking for a 42 dot dot-to-dot puzzle because we can’t find one.
  41. Watch a video of Bill Clinton playing the saxophone.
  42. Spend 42 minutes trying to leave the bedroom.
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