Go enjoy it, you hoopy froods.
May 25, 2009 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Happy Towel Day.

Today is Towel Day, a celebration of Douglas Adams and his work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
posted by kldickson (24 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Wanna get high?
posted by mazola at 10:57 AM on May 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

Let's see if I can do this from memory....

Far out, in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy, lies a small, unregarded, yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of 93 million miles lies an utterly insignificant blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has--or rather, had--a problem, which was this: most of its inhabitants were unhappy for pretty much of the time.

Lots of solutions were suggested for this problem. Many of them involved the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which was odd, for on the whole it was not the small, green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained. Many of the people were mean, and most were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Some were increasingly of the opinion that it has been a mistake to come down from the trees in the first place. And others said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

And then one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a young girl sitting on her own in a cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what had been going wrong all this time. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.

Sadly, before she could get to a telephone to tell anyone about it, a terrible, stupid catastrophe occured, and the idea was lost forever.

This is not her story.

But it is the story of the terrible, stupid catastrophe, and some of its consequences.

It's also the story of a book, the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. An amazingly successful book, more popular than Celestial Home-Care Omnibus, better-selling than Fifty-three More Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Coluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who is This God Person, Anyway?. And in some of the more relaxed civilizations of the eastern spiral arm of the galaxy, the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has even supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactia as the standard repository of all knowledge, for although it contains many omissions, and has much that is apocryphal (or at least wildly inaccurate), it overscores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it bears the words "DON'T PANIC!" in large, friendly letters on the cover.

But the story of book, the Thursday, and the terrible, stupid catastrophe all begins very simply.

It begins with a house.

I began to break down towards the end, but that's most of it.
posted by JHarris at 11:01 AM on May 25, 2009 [8 favorites]

The two I have memorized (well, more like approximately so) are:

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."


"There is a theory that if anyone ever explains the universe, if they ever come up with a theory that explains exactly what it is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and something equally as bizarre and inexplicable will appear in its place.

"There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on May 25, 2009

JHarris - colour me impressed! I get bogged down at "nailed to anything."
(not at parties. oh no. not me.)

If people feel the need to commemorate the guy annually though ("this is getting needlessly messianic") it's a shame that a donation to the kakapos or something isn't regarded as more to the point ...
posted by runincircles at 11:22 AM on May 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yesterday, someone come into my workplace asking for a co-worker of mine who wasn't there. As the person left, I asked if I should tell my co-worker who came by. "Just a friend", she said.

"Oh yeah?", I replied, "Anyone's friend in particular or just generally well-disposed to people?"

I wait years at a stretch for that set-up line, and I don't always get to respond it to it, so yesterday was special for me.
posted by chudmonkey at 11:41 AM on May 25, 2009 [13 favorites]

As it happens, my towel is actually right next to me. I am completely ready for interstellar adventures.

Though I would prefer to put on a shirt before we leave. Or at least some pants.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:58 AM on May 25, 2009

It's hanging over the end of my bed, actually.
posted by Jilder at 12:02 PM on May 25, 2009

Er, mine, not yours, paisley henosis.

(Preview, Jilder, preview.)
posted by Jilder at 12:03 PM on May 25, 2009

Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits
On a lurgid bee.
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
And hooptiously drangle me
with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon

See if I don't.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have two towels. Happy towel day, everyone.
posted by RussHy at 12:08 PM on May 25, 2009

Marvin: "I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number."

Zem: "Er, five."

Marvin: "Wrong. You see?"

The mattress was much impressed by this and realised that it was in the presence of a not unremarkable mind.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:10 PM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

As it happens, I am at a park as I write this, sitting on the towel backseatpilot got me for Secret Quonsar last year.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:28 PM on May 25, 2009

And a particularly happy towel day for fans of Glasgow Celtic FC. Exactly 42 years ago today, Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup.
posted by daveje at 12:35 PM on May 25, 2009

"Don't forget to bring a towel" -Towelie
posted by Sargas at 12:55 PM on May 25, 2009

"Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?" - Gag Halfrunt
posted by tommasz at 1:01 PM on May 25, 2009


"Happy" Towel day or "Happy Towel" day?

very different things.

..and if you have to ask you have never lived in a dorm.
posted by shockingbluamp at 1:20 PM on May 25, 2009

"Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't."

There's more than a little Eeyore in Marvin, I feel.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 2:28 PM on May 25, 2009

"Ford, there's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out..."

...today is of course also the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May, wherein we all celebrate Truth, Freedom, Reasonably-Priced Love and a Hard-Boiled Egg.
posted by aihal at 2:48 PM on May 25, 2009

I laundered two of my towels today. I go now to see what Clean Towel Smell does for the Infinite Improbability Drive.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:55 PM on May 25, 2009

My spawn.
posted by bpm140 at 3:28 PM on May 25, 2009 [6 favorites]

All eyes were on Ford Prefect. Some of them were on stalks.
posted by milquetoast at 5:46 PM on May 25, 2009

"Do you know how much damage this machine will take if I just let it run right over you?"

"Well, no?"

"None at all."
posted by Severian at 10:01 PM on May 25, 2009

"I love deadlines... I love the sound they make as they go rushing by".

Sadly, sadly missed. That hoopy, frood, dude really new where his towel was.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 7:43 AM on May 26, 2009

Yes, sadly missed.

I heavily recommend The Salmon Of Doubt, which, apart from a half-finished final novel, also contains many musings from Adams about music, religion and technology
posted by memebake at 2:27 PM on May 26, 2009

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