Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Towel Day!

Do you know where yours is?

Every May 25 is Towel Day, a holiday in honor and memory of Douglas Adams, the British humorist who penned The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As holidays go, it's mostly harmless and largely neglected. Nevertheless, it's worth recalling 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.”

Have you hugged your towel today?

Douglas Adams was a nonbeliever, so don't bother offering up any memorial prayers on his behalf (although you can do it if it's going to make you feel better; Adams is in no position to object and probably wouldn't have cared anyway). We can, however, go more respectfully to our shelves of favorite books and pull down one of the five entries in the no-longer-increasingly misnamed Hitchhiker's trilogy and spend a couple of hours in rapt towel appreciation.

And consider giving a visit to the Towel Day website, where you'll find useful suggestions for appropriate observances.

Towel Day :: A tribute to Douglas Adams (1952-2001)


Ray said...

I've been wearing my towel all day...

Anonymous said...

On the subject of towels...check out this funny piece on the subject:

The Tyranny of Towels

I’ve decided that I must be the victim of towel tyranny. Those rectangular household items that Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, called “massively useful” seem to have taken over my home, appearing all over the place in varying stages of cleanliness and with a disturbing disregard for proper proportion.

And since every other member of my family vehemently denies any responsibility for them, I can only conclude the troublesome towels themselves have staged a takeover.

Adams, who seems to have had something of an obsession with the things, claimed that towels have immense psychological value, providing a sense of order in a chaotic universe. There’s even an annual Towel Day. I believe all this adulation has given the heretofore humble towel an enlarged ego.

First, there is the fuss over folding. My towels have taken to appearing sans shape, even after being expertly folded by me. I know it was me because no one else in my family is apparently capable of the feat of folding. It’s a burden those of us born with greater abilities must bear. So I painstakingly fold the towels right out of the dryer. I give them crisp, comforting contours, and I place them lovingly on their assigned shelves.

And how do these ungrateful bolts of blotting material repay my hard work? By running rampant in my linen closet. If I open the closet door, I’ll find towels in a tumultuous state, hanging like hoodlums off the shelf or brazenly bunched up in the corner. Towels that earlier were well-behaved are suddenly mingling with sheets and pillowcases on unauthorized shelves. As neither my children nor my husband avows any knowledge of how they got there, I have to assume the terrible towels are in total revolt.

There’s also the matter of moisture. Our towels have a strange mania for mildew. They will leap off the hooks on which they have been faithfully hung after being used to dry off a humid (and hopefully clean) human. Then they will insist on lying unmoved for hours, amassing smelly spores and funky fungi. Sometimes, they will even fling themselves into closets and under beds where they will be unlikely to be discovered for days. By then, they’ll have hardened into crustily creative origami with little resemblance to their former folded finery. It’s truly diabolical.

The towels in my house adhere to a certain hierarchy. The lowest caste belongs to the torn, stained fragments of fabric consigned to sopping up spills or drying the dog. The middle class claims those ordinary, still-presentable if somewhat diminished, cloths assigned to dry the skins of their owners.

Then, at the top of the heap, are the elegant elite – the decorative towels. These privileged pieces – which even get matching, look-but-don’t-touch decorative soaps — have the enviable duty of simply looking good. No one is allowed to soil their softness with actual use.

And not one of my very compliant crew ever does touch them — I have their sworn statements – so the betrayal of these pretty, tulle-tied towels has been the hardest to bear. Instead of staying put in the guest bathroom, I find them lying, soaking wet, in the floor or in one or another sink. One time, I discovered them disgracefully hiding out on the back patio, where they evidently enjoyed cleaning a stinking pair of soccer cleats.

Another time, for some unknown reason, they chose to cover the hamster cage and, after a wild night of cavorting with our riotous rodent, they emerged frayed and chewed, half-naked and in serious need of rehab.

At this point, I am so traumatized by the behavior of my traitorous towels that I’m thinking of excommunicating the whole lot. We could probably get along fine without them. I’m sure that my above-suspicion family wouldn’t mind at all.