This morning my younger son left for school carrying his towel … since he became a big fan of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a year or so ago he ALWAYS knows where his towel is! He has been excited about celebrating ‘Towel Day’ all week. Unfortunately he wouldn’t let me take his picture for this post!
Towel Day was created just after Douglas Adams death in 2001, in a post that said:
Towel Day: A Tribute to Douglas Adams
Monday 14 May 2001 06:00am PDT
Douglas Adams will be missed by his fans worldwide. So that all his fans everywhere can pay tribute to this genius, I propose that two weeks after his passing (25 May 2001) be marked as “Towel Day”. All Douglas Adams fans are encouraged to carry a towel with them for the day.
So long Douglas, and thanks for all the fish!
– D Clyde Williamson, 2001-05-14
So … unless you have read the Hitchiker’s Guide, you doubtlessly wonder … what’s up with the whole ‘Towel’ thing? Here is the direct quote of interest:
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker 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 mini raft 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 to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, 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 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 Towel, like so many other items from the Hitchhiker’s Guide, has earned a spot in ‘geek lore’ and makes many appearances. Most recently, in Avadon: The Black Fortress you will find towels scattered about. Checking their information you will see “Towel: Very useful item. You should always know where yours it.”
How will this work for my son carrying around a towel all day? I’m not worried – one of his favorite teachers is a HUGE HHGTG fan and will likely be carrying his own towel …
If you want more information, check out TowelDay.org!
Happy Towel Day! Make sure you know where YOURS is!