The Universe is big. It is very very very very very very big. It is so big that a million universes could fit inside it, and there would still be room for a few billion more. In the grand scale of Things That Are Big, the Universe has held the number one spot for quite some time now, and there hasn't been a serious contender for the crown since before the Big Bang.
It could be argued, and indeed some people have made their careers out of arguing, that any run-of-the-mill parallel universe is just exactly the same size as the Universe and therefore the Universe can't claim to be the unquestionably biggest thing ever if there's all these other things that are the exact same size, now can it? Of course it can. It's the Universe, man, it can do whatever it wants. Where do you think all of those other universes are? They're in the Universe. The Universe. The Universe is not only big enough to hold everything in existence, it's big enough to hold everything in every infinite parallel universe as well. That, in short, is why the Universe is so very very big. And if you think that all of that is mathematically impossibly, you're not thinking hard enough.
Now, the problem with the overall bigness of the Universe is that it's so colossally vast that things tend to get lost in it. And not just buttons and presidential elections. There have been entire civilizations which have gone missing only to turn up a few millennia later in someone's sock drawer.
Of course, if you happen to not want to be found, the Universe is a pretty good place to be in. Granted, somewhere above 99.9% of the Universe is uninhabitable by reproductive life forms, so that cuts down on the hiding places, but still, given how microscopically small these life forms are in comparison to the previously demonstrated bigness of the Universe, that still leaves a lot of space to not be found in.
Fortunately for one man, what he was looking for was most likely confined to a single galaxy, in a single three-dimensional plane of existence, in the colossal humongousness of the Universe. But since this man had never had the helpful misfortune of having been in the Total Perspective Vortex, he was unaware of just how insignificant one galaxy is, compared to the entirety of existence, and so for him, the task ahead of him seemed dauntingly large and quite possibly impossible.
But Arthur Dent had nothing better to do.
If you'd like to read the whole book, it's available for free at thebbbb dot com. This forum does not allow for any sort of decent formatting, so there it is.
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