(Roughly) Daily

Ladies and Gentlemen, to your washers!…

Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space…

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter Eight

Towel Day, Innsbruck, 2005 (source)

On May 25 of each year (that’s to say, Wednesday), the world observes Towel Day— a celebration of the life and works of Douglas Adams…. which means, Dear Readers, that one has only three days left to wash and fold!

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.

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 mini raft 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 to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but 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 hitch hiker 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.

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter Three

As we shift a load to the dryer, we might recall that it was on this date in 1961 that the revolving restaurant atop Seattle’s Space Needle opened.  It was reputedly both the first revolving restaurant (though that honor arguably belongs to La Ronde, designed by the same architect before the Needle, but opened, in Honolulu, later) and the inspiration for the title location in the second novel in the Hitch Hiker series, The Restaurant of the End of the Universe… though Adams dedicated that book to the 1980 Paul Simon soundtrack album, One-Trick Pony, which, Adams says, he played “incessantly” while writing it.

Top of the Needle Restaurant (source)

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