Author Douglas Adams Once Ripped On Grand Rapids
Douglas Adams, best known for writing 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy', was not a fan of Grand Rapids.
Adams wrote the series of five 'Galaxy' books, which were later adapted into a radio drama. It featured, among others, a character called Marvin the Paranoid Android, who became kind of a cult figure in the '70s.
He also was in big demand as a public speaker, speaking on environmental issues, as well as the effects of modern technology.
In a collection of essays about technology and his life experiences called 'The Salmon of Doubt' released after his death in 2001, Adams was not kind in a short appraisal of Grand Rapids.
I'm a writer and I'm feeling like death, as you would too if you'd just flown into Grand Rapids, Michigan at some ungodly hour of the morning only to discover that you can't get into your hotel room for another three hours. In fact it's enough just to have flown into Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you are a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, then please assume that I am just kidding. Anyone else will surely realize that I am not.
Having nowhere else to go, I am standing up, leaning against a mantelpiece. Well, a kind of mantelpiece. I don't know what it is, in fact. It's made of brass and some kind of plastic and was probably drawn in by the architect after a nasty night on the town. That reminds me of another favorite piece of information: there is a large kink in the trans-Siberian railway because when the Czar (I don't know which Czar it was because I am not in my study at home I'm leaning against something shamefully ugly in Michigan and there are no books) decreed that the trans-Siberian railway should be built, he drew a line on a map with a ruler. The ruler had a nick in it.”
It's not clear whether what Adams wrote in that essay was drawn from actual life experiences here, or whether it was a fictional rant and he chose Grand Rapids off a random map to make a point about the Midwest in general. But to be honest, in the late '70s/early'80s, GR may not have had the most active downtown area, or if he was stuck out by the airport at some hotel, you could kind of relate.
Anyway, it was kind of weird to discover one of my favorite authors once wrote about my adopted hometown. And how weird is that (true) fact about the Siberian railroad? I kind of took joy in that part.