I know where my towel is
Today is Towel Day, a day when fans of author Douglas Adams and his series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy carry a towel with them throughout the day as a tribute. The first Towel Day occurred two weeks after Adams’ death in 2001. The tradition may not make sense to anyone who isn’t a fan of the series, but nonetheless, this peculiar commemoration is one that is worth sharing. Above all, I suppose people would ask, “Why a towel?” As referenced in the first novel in the Hitchhiker’s series, it is the most useful thing in the universe.
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.
Zany and rambunctious, I wouldn’t say this piece of sci-fi is for everyone, but it’s the kind of novel that’s worth picking up and giving a read. It’s mostly humourous, but it’s also rather insanely written. It’s a fun adventure. I recommend The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to anyone, but I always keep in mind that not everyone likes the books.
I carried a towel around today. I got a few weird looks. James said it looked like I had been to the pool. It was drizzling a bit in the morning, and I thought that the towel was perfect as a jacket and a light umbrella. I hate carrying umbrellas; even the small ones are a bother. Luckily mine has a nice hook as part of the handle, so when I’m walking I can hang it from the edge of my satchel. Pretty neat. I did still take my umbrella and my jumper. Towels are useful, but you have to think practically. Just because it’s useful, it doesn’t mean you’ll be using it for everything.
I did find that it kept me warm at my desk. Extra warm.
And I wiped my hands on it after washing my hands, since we don’t have a towel in the office.
Last time I took a towel out with me was in high school. For the past three years Towel Day fell on the weekend or on a day when I didn’t go out. In high school, two of my other friends, Rachel and Andrew, brought towels with them to school. I remember our roll call teacher asking us what they were for. It was rather amusing.
Of course, when my friend spilled water all over his desk in English class, it was just so convenient that I had my towel to mop it up. 😛
Today, James thought Towel Day was ridiculous. He said that he didn’t see anyone else with a towel, and it couldn’t possibly be official unless it had a Google Doodle. I was so sure it would, but when I checked on my phone, it was just the ordinary Google logo. (However, a couple of years ago a petition was started to get a Google Doodle for Towel Day!) Of course, we were both on the lookout for other people with a towel. I sadly didn’t see anyone. Where are my fellow nerds? 😞
I did find out that the large bookstore chain Kinokuniya was giving people 20% discounts on books if they walked in with a towel around their neck. I didn’t get a chance to walk up to the bookstore as I had work, but I’m not too disappointed. I wasn’t really after any books, and since I’ve been trying to get rid of some of my books lately, I didn’t see it as much of a loss. However, I’m disappointed that I missed the chance to possibly see other H2G2 fans with their towels.
Happy Towel Day! /wave