Douglas Adams had moved to Santa Barbara, CA to be closer to Hollywood, something he was loath to do, to write a screenplay for a filmed, big budget version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

He was my customer, I was his tech support contact for the ISP I work for. At first, he had to settle for frame relay connectivity, because he was too far away from a Verizon (neé GTE) CO for DSL. When we found out that yes, it was that Douglas Adams, we implored, begged, and pleaded with Verizon to upgrade their equipment so DNA could get DSL. And, amazingly enough, they did it. Guess they figured out it was that Douglas Adams, too.

He'd often call us from his cell phone while in the car, and usually his questions were rather arcane. I'd usually start in on a lengthy reply, at which point DNA would realize he'd need to take notes. Something one shouldn't do while driving. He'd then usually crack wise with a statement along the lines of:

"Dammit, Eric, why do you always insist on being useful while I'm driving?"

The irritation in his voice, the self-mocking tone, the very Britishness of the way he'd say this would never fail to amuse me, and quite honestly endeared me to the man even more than his books had done.

We had just set up a couple of extra e-mail accounts for him earlier in the week, and it's very strange, odd, and bizarre to think that I may now have one of the last pieces of Earthly communication from him.

It merely said, "Thanks for all your hard work."

It's the least I could do, DNA. I think you know why.