My, doesn’t time fly! Once again Towel Day is almost upon us, with all that that brings. What’s that? You don’t know what towel day is? Why my dear old thing! Let me explain…
This year Towel Day will by marked on Friday 25th May. It is a tribute to the late, great author Douglas Adams. It was first held in 2001, tow weeks after the authors death. Adams is best known for creating the hugely successful, funny, and prescient Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy .
On Towel Day, fans of Adams are encouraged to make sure that they have a towel with them. Whether they are going to work, school, or perhaps even going hitch-hiking.
So why towels then?
It all comes back to the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. This is named after a guidebook for interstellar travellers that appears in it. The guide advocates towels in the strongest possible terms. Here is the quote:
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); 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.
What’s going on?
As the website set up by the founders of Towel Day, towelday.org reveal it is now a global affair. Depending on where you are there are all kinds of events that you can participate in, as well as just generally making sure that you know where your towel is.
In the UK one of the highlights is sure to be a ‘Vogon Poetry Slam’, in London. In Edinburgh fans will wear dressing gowns, and carry towels and cups of tea (aping the Hitchiker’s protagonist Arthur Dent), and march through Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile.
Those in Brazil are urged to take part in an Emergency Drill. This will provide an invaluable opportunity to test readiness in case of the arrival of Vogon demolition fleets. Details for those with the foresight to learn the local lingo (or with a babelfish in their lughole) can be found here.
What will YOU be doing for Towel Day? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!
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