In the words of the Guide, “Don’t Panic!” because Towel Day is finally here. For those of you who don’t know, Towel Day is an annual celebration of the life and work of writer Douglas Adams, most famously known as the author of the series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This year, as part of my annual celebration, I am participating in the Towel Day Blogfest hosted by L.G. Keltner. In fact, they created the image to the right, so be sure to stop by the blog to say thank you.
My contribution is going to be suggestions for celebrating Towel Day.
First and foremost, if you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY READ IT NOW! Barring that, you could at least acquaint yourself loosely with the material by looking up a synopsis or watching the movie or the BBC mini-series. But it’s a thin book! You could probably sit down and read it in a couple hours; it’s only about 46,000 words long or about as thick as the pinky you extend while observing Brownian motion in a hot beverage (say a nice cup of tea).
Now, fans of Adams wear a towel conspicuously throughout the day, because, in the words of The Guide,
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.
My son and I observe Towel Day every year; we even have special towels that we use especially for this day (photo below). If you are so inclined, you can post photos of you (and possibly other hoopy froods) with your towel on the Flickr Towel Day page.
You can find suggestions and (hopefully) local celebrations by visiting the official Towel Day site, but here are a few of my favorites.
1. Wear pajamas and/or bathrobe along with your towel, at home or abroad. If it’s good enough for Arthur Dent, it’s good enough for me.
2. Try to make the perfect sandwich.
3. Make a Terran version of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. My son and I made some one year; it was a challenge coming up with Terran AND non-alcoholic versions of the ingredients. We used things like a candy shaped like a tooth for the tooth of the Algolian Suntiger, things like that, and served them up in funky glasses.
4. Read excerpts from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and watch either the movie or the BBC television series. I’ve decided that popcorn is the perfect food to go with the PGGB’s (from suggestion #3).
5. Write some Vogon Poetry with the help of the Vogon Poetry generator.
6. Use lingo from the books all day long.
Of course, Douglas Adams wrote more than just the Hitchhiker’s series, so you might want to delve into some of his other work. Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency is brilliantly funny, and Last Chance to See calls our attention to our responsibilities to the world around us, albeit in a humorous way. Adams had a masterful wit that continues to have impacts in the world today. If you haven’t read the books, read them and discover what you’ve been missing. If you have, take the time to remember a wonderful author and person.