“A towel, [The Guide] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Not only does it have great practical value, a towel has immense psychological value” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Today, H2G2 fans are marking the 22nd anniversary since the all-too-early passing of creator/writer, Douglas Adams. Festivities continue around the world throughout the month of May which will also mark also the 22nd anniversary of the first Towel Day which took place just two weeks after Adams passed away from a heart attack on May 11, 2001.
The importance of the towel was introduced in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy original radio series in 1978. The follow-up book explained the importance of towels in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy universe in Chapter 3, using much of the same wording as the original radio series, noting the towel as being, perhaps, the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have from its ability to keep you warm as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta, lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, 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 and, of course, dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. It’s todays version of the iPhone in that it serves so many purposes and, yet, rarely do you remember that it can serve as a phone also!
If that isn’t enough to get you to carry a towel today, a towel possesses immense psychological value. You must read the book to fully understand this point.
May 25th, the annual celebration of the life and work of the late, great Douglas Adams is finally here and filled with the usual fanfare that Towel Day aficionados have come to expect. This year, online celebrations and events will occur around the world from Australia to the United States and all points in-between.
While there have been endless celebrations across Planet Earth, Towel Day isn’t only for those residing on the planet. Check out European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti reading from Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” while aboard the European laboratory Columbus on the International Space Station back in 2015.
Past celebrations took place in Richmond, VA, where Book People offered a 42% discount to anyone openly wearing or carrying a towel and in El Paso, TX, the El Paso Arts Council held the inaugural Borderland Vogon Poetry Slam. This year, in Lincoln, NE, Don’t Panic Labs will again serve as public collection sites for donations of new and used towels for use at the People’s City Mission shelter. The 9-day rally across Lincoln to collect as many new or used towels as possible concludes today.
So you won’t have to have your Pangalactic gargle blaster all by yourself this year, there are numerous online virtual events that you can participate in across the globe. Whether celebrating with other froods or by yourself, raise a glass this weekend to the brilliance of Douglas Adams. For a list of all scheduled events, click here.
Happy Towel Day 2023! Until next time, so long and thanks for all the fish!
In: Odds & Sods