Towel Day today…do you know where your towel is?

25 05 2010

If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams like I am, then you know what Towel Day is all about. If you’re not, allow me to explain:

A towel is of extreme importance to the galactic hitchhiker in Adams’ book series, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”. I’ll let Adams himself explain the importance of towels, from chapter 3 of the first book in the series:

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 vapors; 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); 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 hitch hiker 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.

The first Towel Day took place on May 25, 2001, two weeks after the untimely death of Adams. On Towel Day, if you’re a Douglas Adams fan, you’re encouraged to take a towel and carry it with you wherever you go, all day.

You can find more about Towel Day at http://towelday.org

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