I happened to hear the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life the Universe and Everything from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Or rather, I happened to hear the Ultimate Question to which the answer is 42.
In his book, "Life, The Universe, and Everything" author Douglas Adams posits that the answer to the Ultimate Question, the Question of Life the Universe and everything is 42, but that we don't really understand the question.
During his life, which ended far too soon, Adams never revealed what the question was and it's turned into one of those long running mysteries that keep philosophers, wise men, and redditors up all night.
Strangely, the question was answered, or the answer questioned clear back in 1988 by Dan Smith of Leavenworth, Kansas.
The answer 42, and the mystery of the question came up during a role-playing session that I was participating in that summer. Dan, who had never read "Life, the Universe, and Everything," or any of Douglas Adams' books, listened to the conversation for a while then piped up.
"So the question would be, 'What is the sum of paradise?'" He asked.
We all looked at him like he'd farted in church. "What?" We asked.
"42." He said. "The question that goes with the answer 42 is 'What is the sum of paradise?'"
We all made squeaky condescending noises at him but he stuck to his guns. He held up a six sided die from one of the role playing sets we were using. "Look." He said, "There are a total of 21 dots on this die, right? One dot for the one, two for the two and so on...21. So the sum total of a 'pair-o-dice' is 42."
The stunning, blinding brilliance of it staggers me to this day. The question, the ultimate question of life the universe and everything, to which the answer is 42, is: "What is the sum of paradise?"
Rest well Douglas Adams.