Lead image by Mr. Flibble.
In case you’ve been living under a large, absorbent cloth these last 11 years, you should probably be aware that today is Towel Day — an annual celebration of and tribute to the fecund imagination of the late, great Douglas Adams (1952-2001). Though such a mundane bathroom mainstay may strike you as an inadequate demonstration of appreciation for such an iconic figure, it actually represents the highest form of respect. For a towel, you see,
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 hitchhiker 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 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.
So in honor of Adams, I have compiled a brief collection of recent news events from around the world demonstrating the lowly towel’s continued utility and nobility in this age of high speed Intertubes and sexty texty-ness.
- Lufkin, Texas: Man charged with robbing store with rake while towel wrapped around his head
- Belfast, Ireland: Michaela McAreavey murder accused claims police tried to suffocate him with towel
- Minneapolis, MN: This brilliant towel could automatically censor all your naughty pics
My god, would you look at the size of her pixels!?
- Manila, Philippines: Towel supplier, sugar trader face tax evasion raps
- Lemon Grove, California: Man with towel over his head robs adult bookstore
The towel: not as cut and (ahem) dried as you once thought, eh?