Why ‘follow the humming?’

“I’ll hum for you,” said Gargravarr, “follow the humming.”

The Resturant at the End of the Universe, the second book in Douglas Adams’ wonderful Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, tells the story of Trin Tragula – ‘a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.’

Trin Tragula’s major contribution to the galaxy is the invention of the Total Perspective Vortex – a machine designed to give life forms of all kinds the terrifying opportunity of understanding their own insignificance in relation to the unimaginible majesty of the infinite universe. Until the arrival of Zaphod Beeblebrox and his astonishingly large ego, no-one has entered the vortex and survived.

The custodian of the Total Perspective Vortex is one Gargravarr, a disembodied mind whose body has deserted him in favour of a life of parties on another planet. Without a finger to point with, Gargravarr’s only means of guiding his victims to the Vortex is through his rather morose humming.

Despite any content to the contrary on followthehumming.com, Trin Tragula’s brain-melting invention proved once and for all that the very last thing a sentient being can afford to have – if it is to survive in a universe of this size – is a sense of proportion.

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