What is Towel Day, you ask? Towel Day is a day celebrated on May 25 every year as a tribute to Douglas Adams. Organised just 2 weeks after his death on May 11, 2001, Towel Day has become a worldwide event with happenings in cities all over the world. And all you need to do to show appreciation for the man and his books is to carry a towel around with you all day.
To see the events that are happening in your country, look down the list on the official website for Towel Day. There is a lot happening and it’s a good way to meet other Douglas Adams fans (which are surely some of the coolest people around).
But why a towel, you might wonder? Well, in chapter three of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is a rather in-depth explanation of the importance of towels, which apparently is based on a hitchhiking guide to Europe that Adams read which also stressed the importance of towels. The explanation goes as follows:
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 hitchhiker 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.
So, if you’re a Douglas Adams fan, make sure wherever you go and whatever you do tomorrow that you take a towel with you and maybe check out events near you. And if you’re yet to read Douglas Adams, tomorrow is as good a day as any to make a start!