Excerpt from "Fifty-three more things to do in zero gravity", author unknown. (Created by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Once you have played a few thousand games of ‘Catch the Whirling Blades of Decapitation’ (as outlined in Number Twenty-three) you might be interested in a more relaxing way to spend time in your zero gravity environment.
Well, we have just the thing for you: snail racing.
Yes, you read that correctly. No, don’t rush to find your glasses to double check it - you’ll only bump your head on the table leg again.
To begin, buckle yourself into your most comfortable chair. This is a safety precaution that we must insist you adhere to - this activity is so relaxing that you could very well fall asleep and, seeing as this is not Number Twelve, floating around your environment while soundly asleep is not endorsed by the authors.
Also, your comatose body might interfere with the race, thus making the end results suspect.
Next, decide upon your start and finish line. The authors recommend that the finishing point be mid-air, such as a suspended spare nut, or perhaps a Vogon wedding ring, through which a snail must pass in order to be declared the winner. Unless a very great quantity of time must be passed, the authors do not suggest using a bouncing ring of Jell-O as the finishing point.
Now to begin the race. Before commencing, and only after a thorough inspection of each competitor (The Compendium of Snail Racers, From Allowishus to Zippies is an excellent reference book), the authors suggest bets be collected and held by a trusted third party. Not to get personal, but we do advise against using Zaphod Beeblebrox in this position.
We still want our money back, Zaphod.
Right. The race. Each snail should be clearly marked, either by numbers or uniquely coloured racing stripes. It is also a wise move to attach a sensor to each racer, so that an alarm will sound when a competitor reaches the finishing point - just in case all interested parties are not awake by that point.
Although we have received reports that a colony of humans were fond of marking the beginning of the race by shouting “Ready, Steady, Slow!”, the authors are quite agreeable to the idea of a solemnly murmured “It has begun.”
We wish you luck, and may the best snail win!