May 25, 2012

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

Innsbruck, Austria—where Adams
became inspired to write the Guide*
It's Friday and "May I share something funny?" day for Blog Me MAYbe. Today also happens to be Towel Day, which I would call both funny and a little bit sad. Why? Because Towel Day commemorates the life and work of the great Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Adams passed away in May of 2001, and his fans wanted a day set aside each year on which to remember him. Every May 25th, hardcore fans of Adams' books carry a towel around with them...all day. If you've never read his book(s) you're probably wondering: Um, what's with the towels?

In the world of the Hitchhiker's Guide, a towel is the single most important article that a hitchhiker can remember to carry at all times. And here's why (right from the pages of the book):

"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 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." (source)

The Hitchhiker's Guide is a comedic science fiction trilogy of five books, and is loaded with little tidbits that will make you snicker and chuckle (if you're into that kind of thing). If you haven't gotten to it yet, you really should. It's well worth the read, and by next May 25th, you may just find yourself donning a towel too. But not just a towel, because that would be just creepy and weird.

In parting, I have two pieces of Hitchhiker wisdom to share:
1.  Don't panic, and always carry a towel.
2.  42 **

Happy Friday and Happy Towel Day!

P. S. For all you Hitchhiker's geeks out there→ Somebody pointed out that this Towel Day is an especially important one because of this:  25 + 5 + 12 = 42!! (DD/MM/YY). Mind = blown.
* Picture and caption source
** You'll have to read the book(s) to figure this one out.


  1. Ooo I wouldn't have even notice the date equals that if it wasn't pointed out.

    Happy Towel Day!

  2. I need to read this book, clearly! Sounds like so much fun!

  3. I really need to read HITCHHIKER'S....i've heard it is hilarious! Plus I am a sci fi dork, dunno how I haven't read it yet :)

  4. I'm so glad you pointed this out! My hubby is a HUGE Hitchhiker's fan... and he didn't know this. I got to get him a towel!!!

  5. I still haven't read this yet. I should add it to my list. Also, if they haven't yet, someone somewhere should combine Hitchhiker's Guide and Doctor Who. They just should.

    1. In a way, the Doctor Who/Hitchhiker's combination has been done. Douglas Adams was the Script Editor for season 17 of the classic series, and wrote the story City of Death for that season. He also wrote The Pirate Planet for the previous season. Both stories contain some very typical Douglas Adams humor. In fact, you can detect Adams's fingerprints all over season 17--even the stories he didn't actually write!

  6. The HITCHHIKER'S books are a lot of fun. I saw the TV series in the UK back when it originally transmitted (1981?) and every time it was re-run (the series was based on the first two books). Not long after, I read the books. If you enjoy Terry Pratchett or Jasper Fforde, you will love Douglas Adams--he is their forefather, after all. :) Happy Towel Day, Jaime! :D

  7. I gotta reread these - it's been too long! Happy 25/5/12!

  8. Wow, I learn something new every day! That was funny and interesting. :)

  9. Oh my gosh! I just got this book as a gift! I've read a few pages and it's verrrrry different, but funny. I'm excited to keep reading! :D

  10. I was in the book store yesterday here in Manila and almost bought it, but told myself, "you might as well wait as it's already 10 plus years old." Thanks to you, I am going back for it today.

    By the way, I followed your blog in the event you can prompt me to get off my duff and do other things. lol

  11. I'm embarrassed to have not read these yet! For shame! My husband loves them, and I really need to get on that. The first one is LITERALLY on my shelf. So, I can't make excuses any longer. :0)

  12. Hitchiker's Guide has an etched-in-stone spot on my all-time favorite list!

    I've heard of this day before but haven't ever celebrated it...I need to put it on the calender for next year:)


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