Forty-Two

7.5 million years ago.

“Let’s build a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”

“Let’s do it!”

One year later.

“We’ve built a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”

“Let’s test it!”

“Ok. It’s just a beta so let’s start with something simple like ‘seven times six’.”

One minute later.

“…It’s slow.”

“Yeah, let’s get some lunch…”

One hour later.

“It’s really extremely slow, isn’t it?”

“Let’s wait and see…”

One day later.

“Still computing? Is it even working?”

“Yes!”

“OK. Let me know when you have the answer…”

Today.

“The giant computer that was built to give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything has produced an answer!”

“Yay! Let’s hear it!”

“It’s … forty-two.”

“What was the question?”

“It doesn’t seem to have been programmed to remember, but I can only assume it was along the line of ‘What is the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.’ Don’t you think?”

“And the answer is ‘forty-two…’ fascinating…”

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