Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why I Miss Douglas Adams

Some time ago, Douglas Adams, of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame, wrote a silly little book entitled The Meaning of Liff. This is a dictionary of words for concepts everyone recognizes but has no words for, such as "the vaguely uncomfortable feeling you got from sitting on a seat which is warm from somebody else's bottom." Thanks to Adams and co-writer John Lloyd, this can now be expressed as "shoeburyness." Apparently, Adams, Lloyd and others came upon the idea as the result of a drinking game, in which a player stated the name of a town, and another player had to assign it a meaning. They quickly realized that there are quite a number of things that are universally known but for which there are no words. Hence, shoeburyness. It helps that English towns often have ridiculous names.

I mention this not because I am a fan of Adams' work (although I am), but because one of the words from The Meaning of Liff gave me insight into The Main Point of this blog (see previous post).

The word is "farnham." I experience farnham on an almost daily basis, and it's somewhat depressing. Farnham is the feeling you get at four in the afternoon when you haven't got enough done.

That's me. I miss Douglas Adams.

1 comment:

JohnR said...

The English must have invented the afternoon tea as consolation for chronic farnham.

I'm steeping some now.