May 25, 2011 - Towel Day

According to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: 

"A towel... 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-boggingly 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.”

Today is a celebration of the life and works of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy,” five books published between 1979 and 1992. (A sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy was written by Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl after Adams's untimely 2001 death.)

Some people will walk around all day with towels, and others will display signs with the comforting message “DON'T PANIC,” a phrase written on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide. (Author Arthur C. Clarke once said that Adams's catchphrase is perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.)

Enjoy some more Adams quotes:

  • "You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
[Ford Prefect:] "Why, what did she tell you?" 
[Arthur:] "I don't know, I didn't listen."

  • Marvin: "I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number."
Zem: "Er, five."
Marvin: "Wrong. You see?"

  • "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

  • "I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer."

  • The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.

The number 42 is

the answer to life, the
universe, and everything.

Plus, of course, the question
What is 6 times 7?
Before they were books...

The Hitchhiker's Guide was a radio show. Check out the BBC Radio website.  Also, you may want to check the official Towel Day website

Enjoy Adams's books! 
And always, always remember:
  • the books are MUCH better than the movie.
  • always carry your towel.

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