“The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.”

From: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Genre: Books, Movies, Television

Who said it?: Deep Thought

The story behind the quote: This is actually my first “book” and “radio” categories entry, but I am cheating a bit here since I’m getting it from the latest movie adapted from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. The overall story follows Arthur Dent, an ordinary man who survives the destruction of the Earth with Ford Prefect (an alien in disguise) and goes off to have different adventures.

The quote comes from a scene early in the story. Aliens created a supercomputer named Deep Thought and ask it to answer the question of life, the universe and everything. Deep Thought mentions that it would take seven and a half million years to get the Ultimate Answer.

So, seven and a half million years pass. The aliens (their ancestors anyway) come back to Deep Thought to get the answer. Deep Thought gives his reply that the answer is 42. The aliens complain that the answer cannot be correct. Deep Thought then says that he cannot give an answer since the aliens don’t know what the question actually is. The computer does say that another computer, even more powerful than itself, will be able to know what the Ultimate Question is.

SPOILER: The computer more powerful than Deep Thought is actually the Earth.

Geek wisdom: The “meaning of life” question is meaningless since the answer is, and always be, something different for each person. The reason being is that the question is also going to be different for each person. Deep Thought felt that it was a perfectly legitimate answer since, for him, it made sense. For others, it was rubbish. That’s because the Ultimate Question is different for each and every one of them.

When we ask ourselves “what is the meaning of life” we are actually asking how we personally think what we want in life. If you ask ourselves the Ultimate Question and we cannot find what the Ultimate Answer is within ourselves, then you may not know what direction your life is going. If you are able to answer it, then you have already found your purpose in life.

“Give me something to sing about!”

From: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Buffy Summers

The story behind the quote: Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes from the mind of Joss Whedon (the same guy that thought of Firefly). The idea behind it was it was the direct opposite of what we see in horror movies; instead of the girl being the damsel in distress, it’s actually the damsel that actually does the rescuing. While this was creative in its own right, the series did other creative stuff, such as the episode where no one talked and the one where everyone breaks into musical numbers. Speaking of the musical episode, it’s entitled “Once More with Feeling” and it’s where the quote comes from.

While bursting out into song and dance numbers may not be a problem, it does become an issue since there is a tendency for victims to dance so fast that they burst into flames! Another side effect of inexplicably singing about your feelings is that you tend to tell the truth about stuff you want to keep hidden.

By the way, MASSIVE SPOILERS coming!

Anyway, Buffy goes and confronts the demon while under the influence of the singing and dancing spell. While singing, she reveals that her friends, the Scoobies, don’t understand why she’s been so unhappy since she was brought back from the dead, making them wonder if the spell that did it went wrong. It turns out the spell worked perfectly. It’s just that her soul was brought to heaven and she was happy. Their resurrection of her ripped her soul from heaven and now, even if she is with her friends, it feels like hell.

Realizing that she exposed her true feelings, she starts to smolder and burn up from dancing when Spike (a vampire who can’t kill… long story) stops her and consoles her that there is a lot of pain in life and it will eventually heal in time.

Geek wisdom: Life can be painful and sometimes we cannot find a reason to “sing about” life. However, as Spike said, the pain is just temporary. It will eventually get better as long as we keep on going. It can be a struggle, especially when it feels overwhelming. In fact, it is the hard times in life that makes us appreciate the good things in life.

We have to take the good and the bad. That’s what comprises life and you can’t take it any other way.

“Shut up and take my money!”

From: Futurama

Genre: Cartoons, Television

Who said it?: Fry

The story behind the quote: This is another quote from Futurama, which is odd, since I’m a bigger fan of Matt Groening’s other show, The Simpsons. Anyway, the quote comes from the episode, entitled “Attack of the Killer App” from Season 6.

A new device called the eyePhone (obviously a joke on Apple’s iPhone devices) is being released and Fry is eager to get one. The retail sales clerk begins to warn Fry that the device is very expensive, he has no choice of what phone company to use and the battery life is poor. However, Fry angrily interrupts the person and shoves a lot of money into his face, exclaiming that he should just keep quiet since he’s going to buy the eyePhone.

The quote became somewhat of a meme because of the utter ridiculousness of Fry’s anger regarding the situation and him totally ignoring what the clerk was telling him.

Geek wisdom: We can be like Fry a lot of times, ignoring practicality to just get the next “big” and “cool” thing. We basically just want to be part of the “in” crowd and that’s normal. However, by doing this, we may experience remorse for purchasing an expensive item that really doesn’t meet our needs.

The first iPhone suffered from the exact same problems the fictional eyePhone had, yet a lot of people bought it. What happened afterwards? A lot of people complained that it was too expensive, you couldn’t choose what phone company you wanted and it had poor battery life.

Sometimes, it’s better to wait for improvements and be patient because good things come to those who wait.

“We live in a spaceship, dear.”

From: Firefly

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Zoe Washburn

The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the (sadly) shortly lived sci-fi series, Firefly. It takes place in the future, when mankind has colonized other planets. Malcolm Reynolds is the captain of a crew of a Firefly class starship named Serenity. While the series is set in space, it’s presented more like a western, which made it pretty unique. It’s also a pretty quirky series being the brainchild of Joss Whedon (the same creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog).

The quote comes from the last episode of the series, entitled “Objects in Space.” To avoid spoilers, I’ll just mention where the quote fits into the episode. The crew is discussing the possibility that one of their crew members, River Tam, who appears to be autistic (and crazy), may actually have psychic abilities. The pilot of Serenity, Wash, seriously doubts this, since psychics only appear in science fiction. Wash’s wife, Zoe, turns to him and ironically tells him that they actually live in outer space in the Serenity.

(By the way, if you’re a geek, you owe it to yourself to watch the entire series.)

Geek wisdom: Somethings may also seem impossible and totally outrageous to one person but may be very natural with another. The clip above shows Wash totally saying that psychics are too far in the realm of impossibility to be real. It’s his wife that has to point out to him that they are living in a spaceship, which is actually something that is pretty hard to comprehend for others. But for Wash, it’s just a normal thing.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

From: Star Trek

Genre: Television, Movies

Who said it?: James T. Kirk, Jean Luc Picard

The story behind the quote: This quote is probably something everyone is familiar with. It comes from the opening narration of Star Trek. But first, let’s talk about Star Trek.

The basic premise of all Star Trek iterations is that a huge spaceship, the USS Enterprise, goes around the universe attempting to make brand new discoveries and encounter new alien races to communicate with. One of the things that made each version of Star Trek memorable was the diverse cast and the attitudes of the crew of the Enterprise. The original 1966 series had James T. Kirk, the captain of the ship, who was usually led by following his instincts. However, his First Office, a Vulcan named Spock, who only works with pure logic.

The second series, called Star Trek: The Next Generation, added more diversity. The crew of the new Enterprise now had a Klingon (a race of aliens that were actually the main antagonists of the original series) named Worf and a full-fledged android named Data joining an entirely new cast.

Anyway, every series would always have the same intro, with a narrator stating the full mission of the USS Enterprise.

Here’s the original version from the first series…

Now, here’s the introduction from Star Trek: The Next Generation…

Geek wisdom: We all want to play it safe and stay in our comfort zone and, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it’s when we don’t explore and do new things once in a while is when we stagnate. We all have to eventually try new things and go to new places. In fact, this is the best way for us to keep learning new things.

“Homies help homies!”

From: Adventure Time

Genre: Cartoons, Television

Who said it?: Jake the Dog

The story behind the quote: Adventure Time is a fairly recent cartoon that has gain a huge cult following and it’s not hard to see why it’s become so popular. Each story revolves around two friends, Finn (the Human) and Jake (the Dog). They usually go around fantastic adventures in the land they live in (The Land of Ooo).

By the way, the following summary of the quote is going to sound weird, especially if you haven’t watch the show. So, just go with it.

The quote comes from one of the episodes entitled, “Her Parents.” Lady Rainicorn, Jake’s girlfriend, has her parents come over to meet her boyfriend. However, as Jake is a dog and Lady Rainicorn is a, well, rainicorn, there is some tension since their two species had a violent war before. So, Jake shapeshifts into a rainicorn and asks Finn to help him impress his girlfriend’s parents.

Finn tries his best to help his friend but is constantly getting beat down because of all the ridiculous things he has to do (like carrying Jake around to simulate flying). Jake then appeals to Finn, asking him to still help him since they are best friends.

(Sorry for the quality of the clip. It’s the only one I could find on the Internet.)

Geek wisdom: It’s easy to stick by your “friend” during the easy times. However, the only time you’ll really know who you’re true friends really are is when they will stick by you during the hard times. When you’re in trouble or you really need their help, your friends should never abandon you.

This goes both ways. If you need help, you should be able to depend on your friends. And, when your friend needs your help, you should be there for them as well.

“What has two thumbs and doesn’t give a crap?”

From: Scrubs

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Bob Kelso

The story behind the quote: Scrubs was a (very) irreverent and unpredictable sitcom.  However, it’s those very factors that makes it a great and memorable sitcom. The story is usually told from the point of view of a trainee doctor named J. D. (played by Zack Braff) and how he see the hospital being run through his weird imagination.

The quote comes from one of the episodes from the 3rd season (but is sort of the character’s catch phrase).  One of the senior doctors, Perry Cox (John McGinley) is told by the Chief of Medicine of the Sacred Heart Hospital, Bob Kelso (portrayed by Ken Jenkins), that he gets too attached to his patients. Dr. Cox replies back and mocks him by saying that scientists will be amazed that, instead of a heart, they would only find a black hole if they do examine Dr. Cox. To this, Dr. Kelso states that he doesn’t care what he thinks by delivering the quote.

(Note: I think Dr. Kelso used a variant of the quote during a much earlier episode, but I just don’t know when.)

Geek wisdom: In society, we tend to care too much about how people perceive us. We don’t want to be thought of as mean spirited, greedy, selfish, stupid… you get the idea. However, when we put too much weight on what people think of us and we try to change because of it, we lose what makes us an individual.

Ultimately, like Bob Kelso, we shouldn’t put too much stock on how people think of us. If you’re happy with the way you are, then you shouldn’t give a crap what they think.

“That makes me a sad panda!”

From: South Park

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Sexual Harassment Panda

The story behind the quote: South Park comes from the twisted minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The show revolves around the residents of a small community in Colorado. Most of the stories are from the viewpoint of four children, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. A lot of the humor comes from the general weirdness of the residents and every episode comes from putting a spin on the ridiculousness of life. The show will poke fun at different topics that Trey and Matt want to make fun of, such as religion, politics and even pop culture.

One episode, aptly called Sexual Harassment Panda, has a person dressed up in a panda outfit trying to teach children about how bad sexual harassment is. Unfortunately, the only message Cartman heard after the speech is that you can sue anyone you feel has harassed you before. However, that’s beside the point. I just wanted to show you the speech of Sexual Harassment Panda because there is some wisdom(?) to his words… and its just funny.

Geek wisdom: People and society tell us that we should not show our emotions and bottle them up. Guys will be ridiculed if they cry while watching a movie. Women are taught that they have to hide feeling of love and play hard to get.

We have to be honest with our feelings. Our emotions are a part of us and make us unique from other people. We shouldn’t let others tell us what to feel in certain situations. We shouldn’t be ashamed to express how we feel. In fact, displaying our emotions will give other people a deeper understanding into our very being.

“Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!”

From: Perfect Strangers

Genre: Television

Who said it?: Balki Bartokomous

The story behind the quote: Perfect Strangers was a highly successful sitcom in the 80s. The general premise is that Balki, a foreigner from the fictional island of Mypos, goes to live with his cousin, Larry Appleton in Chicago. A lot of the humor invovles Larry’s misguided attempts to teach Balki the ways of America or his trying to take advantage of Balki’s naive personality. These will backfire and actually cause trouble for the duo. While they hardly know each other, they do eventually rely on each other as good friends and family members.

One of the signature “gimmicks” (if you can call it that) is Balki and Larry performing “the dance of joy,” usually done as a quick celebration of something successful. Before they do it, Balki will turn to his cousin and yell out the quote before they perform the dance… which you can see below.

Geek wisdom: We sometimes forget to celebrate the smaller, happy occasions and tiny achievements in our lives. Even getting in touch with a cousin who you haven’t seen in a while, making up with a person you have been fighting with for a long time or finally buying something that you’ve been saving your money on should be joyous occasions that should be shared with others.

The dance of joy that Balki and Larry do is a great example of sharing your happiness with others for a job well done. We all should actually find ways to celebrate the good things in life when they come our way. Yes, maybe dancing around with your cousin may be silly but it sure can be fun doing it.

“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

From: Futurama

Genre: Cartoons, Television

Who said it?: God?

The story behind the quote: Futurama comes from the mind of Matt Groening, the same guy who created the Simpsons. The style of humor is pretty much like the Simpsons, only given a sci-fi twist. It follows the adventures of Fry, a young man who was accidentally placed in suspended animation and revived in the 30th century. There, he finds a job as a courier for the Planet Express courier service. He works with Leela, a one-eyed cyclops who also becomes his love interest, and Bender, a robot that is an “alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler” (according to Leela).

Anyway, the quote comes from the 20th episode of the 3rd season. While floating aimlessly in space, Bender becomes a god to a small race of beings that lived on his body but the race died because of a nuclear war (long story). The robot actually meets a being that appears to be God. God then tells Bender that he doesn’t interfere with the human race directly but prefers to use a “light touch” to guide them.

Fry and Leela search desperately for Bender and, using a powerful telescope used by space monks (again, long story), find Bender out in space. Bender is then hurtled towards his friends and Fry and Leela are relieved and amazed to find their friend. When leaving the monastery, they realized that they still have the monks tied up. Bender says that God cannot be counted on to help them. The camera then zooms out back to God, where he gives the quote.

(Wow! That was a long summary!)

Geek wisdom: Let’s not get into a theological discussion regarding the quote. Rather, let’s focus on the wisdom behind it. If you think about it, God (well, the voice in the episode anyway) is right. When everything is going right, we don’t give two thoughts regarding how things work. We’re just happy it does.

People have to remember and thank the people in our day to day lives that makes things run smoothly. It can be a thankless job for the guy (or gal) that makes sure that the plumbing in your house is working properly or the janitor that cleans your work area. Acknowledge that they are an important part of our lives.