Happy Towel Day, You Hoopy Froods

A picture of space with the text Happy Towel Day You Hoopy Frood You
Grab this image and use it on your own site to help promote Towel Day.

Today is Towel Day, the day we celebrate the works of Douglas Adams. Adams is best known for the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels.

Douglas Adams is one of my favorite authors. Yes, he was funny, but what I love is that all his books take on big topics: life, the universe and everything. All while parodying the science fiction genre. I can easily recommend his books to anyone who has a good sense of humor. Hate science fiction? Then you’ll enjoy a read that makes fun of it, while making you ponder why we’re all here. Love science fiction? You have to read these books!

Why is it called Towel Day? Because of this passage from the aforementioned:

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 — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); 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 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.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

One more promo image I made. “Don’t panic” is one of many memes associated with his books, because the in-story product “has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words ‘DON’T PANIC’ in large, friendly letters on the cover.”

Don't Panic Towel Day promo image
Words to live by, in today’s sci-fi dystopia.
If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams and you want to find out about Towel Day events in your area, check out TowelDay.org.

Know Where Your Towel Is, Get a Discount

In honor of Douglas Adams, use the coupon code TOWEL to get two dollars off any purchase of $20 or more. If you want to introduce someone to Douglas Adams, I recommend the hardback illustrated edition, or the giant tome that includes “all five books in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Triology.”


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