I am way late in posting this, but today is Towel Day! Towel Day is a tribute/wake to the late, great Douglas Adams, author of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We are to carry a towel around with us throughout the day in memory of him and his work.
For those not in the know, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (often abbreviated HHGTTG) is a brilliantly witty 5 book trilogy, (odd, isn’t it?) It actually originated as a radio series on BBC. It is a comedy that follows the adventures of the human Arthur Dent and his fellow travelers as they make their way around, you guessed it, the galaxy.
Why a towel you ask? Let us refer to the Hitch Hiker’s Guide itself for direction…
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker 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 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.
The book is a very light hearted and quick read. It had me laughing out loud before the end of the prologue.
Admittedly, I hadn’t really been reading a book in any capacity for some time after I graduated school. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide put me right back in stride – I had all 5 books finished in under a two months. If you’re looking for a book that’s certainly different from the norm for either yourself or high school aged readers or older, (the recent movie earned a PG rating, but the book can be a bit more mature in its language,) I would like to give it my personal recommendation.