Towel Day on May 25 is an annual holiday created to celebrate author Douglas Adams by his fans. Adams wrote the classic sci-fi novel, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” This day was organized in memory of him after he suffered a sudden heart attack at the age of 49. His fans wanted to find a way to commemorate his life’s work, and after having one towel day, its success made it a yearly event.
“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 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.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
What colour are your towels? I tend to be a bit boring, mine are mostly white or blue, apart from a few colourful beach towels.
“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
For today’s #maydays prompt time to take a little walk in space. Let space somehow feature in your post today. May you live long and prosper – hehe.
Remember you can write a memory, short flash fiction, poetry or whatever maytake your fancy and pingback here so that I can pop by and visit you. Don’t forget to TAG your prompt #maydays too.
On this day…12th October 1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the first of five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams is published.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, and a “trilogy” of five books published between 1979 and 1992, a sixth novel penned by Eoin Colfer in 2009.
On Writing The Hitchhiker’s Guide
Adams was a notorious deadline-buster. He was famously quoted as saying, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” As he was polishing The Hitchhiker’s Guide, his publishers called Adams and demanded he finish the page he was writing. To ensure he didn’t hear the deadline’s whoosh, the publishing house immediately sent a bicycle courier to pick up the manuscript.
When writing the fourth book in the Hitchhiker “trilogy,” So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, Adams was locked in a hotel suite for three weeks with his editor (and girlfriend) to ensure the book got written in a timely fashion.
Did You Know?..
The Spelling of Hitchhiker varied – a lot!
The spelling of “Hitchhiker” was wildly inconsistent through the series’ publication run – from “Hitch Hiker” to “Hitch-hiker” – until Adams announced in 2000 that “Hitchhiker” one word, sans punctuation, was the definitive spelling.