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"There's a frood who really knows where his towel is."

The frood in question is Ford Prefect and you have to be a fan of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, known as H2G2 in some circles, to know where this is leading. You see Douglas Adams, the creator of H2G2, died May 11, 2001 and two weeks later on May 25 the first Towel Day was celebrated to honour Douglas and his fascinating piece of science-fiction.
Why Towel Day? Well, it stems from this excerpt from the book:

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 vapors; 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-boggingly 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: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, 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 hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker 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." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

You can learn more about plans for Towel Day 2009 at towelday.org and get your towel ready. Towel Day is only 10 days away. Don't Panic!

Comments

Zowie said…
I've got my towel right here.

We miss you Douglas Adams!
nonamedufus said…
Zowie: H2G2 is the best trilogy in five parts I've ever read.
Zowie said…
I've got my towel right here.

We miss you Douglas Adams!
Anonymous said…
It's a week until Towel Day. Better still, this year's the 30th anniversary of Hitchhiker's and the 10th birthday of h2g2.com

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