Today is Towel Day across the globe, mayhap the universe.
What is towel day you ask?
Towel Day is the celebration of the life and works of author Douglas Adams. He’s the guy that wrote my favorite book The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
“Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.” Douglas Adams
The story begins on Earth – Arthur Dent’s house is about to be demolished, he had just found out this news the day before, seems the plans for this particular bypass had been stored in a deep, dank, dark basement with no electricity. He had been up all night drinking and was quite upset that he wasn’t able to get this nonsense stopped.
Hungover he finally notices the large yellow bulldozer outside his house and before you know it he’s laying down in the mud, in front of the bulldozer that really wants to knock his house down.
His friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and asks how things are going but just starts talking before Arthur can really answer. They convince the construction foreman, who’s a direct descendent of Attila the Hun, to take Arthurs place in the mud… this causes great commotion with the union reps for the construction job who think they might have a case for just walking away right then…
As they’re walking away Ford asks Arthur if he’s remembered his towel. Arthur, still in his bathrobe looks dumbfounded at him and shakes his head… he can’t understand how he managed to let him walk away while his house is being demolished… they go to the local pub for some beer and peanuts…
Ford you see is not from Earth at all, he’s an alien hitchhiker that had been doing work for the wonderfully fabulous book – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (think iPad with a 3D interface) and he got stuck here… Seems no one in the galaxy really wants to visit a planet with a bunch of apes that want to pursue careers as hairdressers and telephone booth sanitizers…
Here is what the Guide has to say about towels:
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
This book make me laugh every time I read it… and laugh out loud, not just smile to myself. It’s a science fiction comedy that was originally a radio show and then became a wonderful 4 book trilogy.
The movie.. well that was crap… I had high hopes but it didn’t pan galactic gargle blaster work out.
Some of my favorite quotes from Douglas Adams are below:
“Most of the time spent wrestling with technologies that don’t quite work yet is just not worth the effort for end users however much fun it is for nerds like us.”
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
I hope your day is filled with laughter, imagination and people willing to go on a galactic adventure with you in a ship that might turn you into monkeys and of course accompanied by a depressive robot.