} THAT old chestnut? (* chuckle *) Well, since you seem to have gone
} out of your way to flatter me and win my favor, the least I can do is
} answer this question: but this is the LAST TIME, OK? Even though I
} exist outside of the limits of space and time as you perceive it, I'm
} not getting any younger. OK, now, where did I write that down?
} [riffling through papers on cosmic desk] No... nope... no... huh uh...
} no... nope... (damn! Where did I put that thing?)... no...Ah!
} [holding a coffee-stained sheet of looseleaf] The Nature of the
} Universe and All Things Really Great Big and Important is... is...
} [squinting] is.......
} [an eon passes. Stars are born, and stars die. Entire civilizations
} thrive, progress, expand, and collapse.]
} ......is...[squinting harder, turning the sheet clockwise and holding
} .................is........well, hell. I can't make this thing out.
} Well, in mortal terms, it's kind of like when you blow up a balloon
} with big polka dots on it, except the dots aren't that big compared to
} the balloon, and you're actually _in_ one of the dots, because dots are
} galaxies, you see, so you blow up this infinite balloon (did I mention
} it was infinite: well, it is), and it takes a really, really, really
} long time to do so, even though "time" is actually a creation of the
} process of the inflated balloon itself, which (of course!) isn't done
} yet, beacuse you've just started and it's infinite and all, and once
} the balloon is finally full size, you pull the nozzle between your
} fingers and make that funny squeaking noise and let out all the air and
} all the dots (which are actually galaxies which actually have you on
} them, but you don't have a balloon because you're busy letting the air
} out of the universe)... all the dots collapse, but they keep going in
} and in and in and in until there's nothing left, not even the balloon
} itself, which is a problem because you are both on the balloon (which
} is now nowhere) and outside the balloon (which is a different nowhere).
} It's just like that, except that there are no balloons, no people
} blowing them up, and all the dots are actually paralellepipeds.
} You owe the Oracle a tank of helium.