25 May is Towel Day – here’s why you might like to carry a towel with you tomorrow.
I first encountered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a very long time ago on an old black and white TV. BBC TV produced the series based on the radio series. It starred Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, David Dixon as Ford Prefect, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sandra Dickinson as Trillion and Peter Jones was the voice of The Guide.
After that, I was hooked and I had to read the trilogy; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and Life, the Universe and Everything. The trilogy expanded to include So long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless. Someone asked me what the books were about. How do you explain something as off-beat as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? I handed over my copy of the book so they could read the blurb on the back. I got the book back – eventually.
According to The hitchhiker’s guide, a towel is a necessity. To know where your towel is means to be in control of your life. The book lists many uses for a towel (including the traditional drying yourself) and goes on to explain that if you have a towel, a non-hitchhiker will lend you anything you need. Based on the assumption that you have lost your luggage, but still have your towel. I have put a towel to many uses: A bandage, a blanket, a sarong, a mop, a hat, a scarf, and have even used it to dry myself, but I have never tried travelling with a towel, but no toothbrush, brush, comb, shoes, or spare clothes, so I have never put Douglas Adams’ theory into practice.
Douglas Adams was born on 11 March 1952. He died of a heart attack on 11 May 2001. He was only 49. On 14 May 2001, one of his fans, D. Clyde Williamson, posted a tribute to Douglas Adams suggesting that a date two weeks after his passing should be observed as Towel Day. May 25th continues to be observed annually as Towel Day as an ongoing tribute to Adams. The fans are asked to carry a bath towel conspicuously with you for the day. Choose a towel that you like, and preferably isn’t tatty. Make sure it’s clean and have it with you.
Do you know where your towel is? Are you mostly harmless? If you answered ‘No’ to both of these questions, I recommend the following books:
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Life, the Universe and Everything
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
- Mostly Harmless
Before his death, Adams was considering writing a sixth novel in the Hitchhiker’s series. Eoin Colfer wrote And Another Thing… from Douglas Adams’ manuscript. It was published on the thirtieth anniversary of the first book, 12 October 2009.