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In the fourth book of the H2G2 trilogy, Fenchurch and Arthur go check the message from god to its creation.

PS: Some translations may not be accurate, as I did not read it in english.

The message is the following:

We apologize for the inconvenience

If this is not just a joke from the author, is there something to be understood?

I am thinking about something like:

  • Sorry I created you

or

  • Sorry for everything religion did
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    "If this is not just a joke from the author, is there something to be understood?" Jokes can be understood too – Paul D. Waite Jun 18 at 12:12
  • It's been a long time, so I could be mistaken, but isn't "H2G2" only the name of the website of Hitchhiker's Guide? And the books are known as "The Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy"? – Aaron F Jun 20 at 20:14
  • @AaronF If my translation is correct, the full title is The hitchhicker's guide to the galaxy, the trilogy in five volumes. – Florian Castelain Jun 21 at 5:51
  • your full title is correct. I now see on wikipedia that it's "sometimes referred to as HG2G, HHGTTG, H2G2, or tHGttG" :) – Aaron F Jun 21 at 9:27
  • Why would god apologise for “everything religion did”? It’s like Vlad Țepeș apologising for Twilight. – Wrzlprmft Jun 21 at 11:51
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It would probably help your understanding to know that this exact phrase is widely used in the UK (where Adams was from) by all sorts of official bodies, typically in a slightly perfunctory way, as part of an explanation that something isn't working as it should be.

Here's a google search limited to gov.uk sites for the exact phrase. Examples:

our roadworks search is not working at the moment. We are investigating this problem and should have it fixed very soon. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Parking permits: Residents won't be able to apply for new resident parking permits until 12:30pm on Thursday 3 June. We apologise for the inconvenience

Our phonelines are busier than usual at the moment. We apologise for the inconvenience

etc etc. What Adams appears to be saying, with his typical dry humour, is that the creator of the universe knows that things aren't working quite as they should be, and is sorry for this (but not that sorry).

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    As IJK citizen can completely confirm this answer! The expression should be used only when the circumstances mean that you are only mildly inconvenienced by the issue but is frequently used as a standard response (or "platitude") in situations where something more serious has occurred. Hence it can have the aura of insincerity. Adams often played with this idea e.g. waiting for "lemon-soaked paper napkins" for over 900 years (and potentially for a new civilization to arise) causes the announcer to say "we thank you for your patience"... – AdamT Jun 18 at 11:35
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    It's hardly unique to the UK. This phrase is frequently used in exactly the same contexts in the US and probably everywhere else that speaks English. (And I expect similar phrases are used in other languages as well.) – Darrel Hoffman Jun 18 at 17:21
  • It's also a stock/canned phrase, with no thought really given to it. I would almost even say it's so overused, it's not necessarily sincere lots of the time. (which to me, makes the fact that God says it even more humorous) – BruceWayne Jun 19 at 15:47
  • Now that you get the joke, the final part of Mitch Hedberg's joke about escalators might be funnier for you. – Warren Weckesser Jun 19 at 16:36
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    @WarrenWeckesser The irony of that joke is that he's wrong. Broken escalators are actually really dangerous; just consider all the videos of people getting killed by getting "eaten" by broken escalators to see that. – nick012000 Jun 20 at 4:47
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The existing answer explains the implications of that phrase very well -- but what inconvenience is the Creator apologising for?

You might remember the first words of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

I think it's a reasonable inference that the 'inconvenience' is that of existing, or having been created at all. Nonexistence is so much more relaxing!

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