Should you decide to take a vacation off-planet, or be sent by the office to some distant galaxy to peddle your wares, it is essential to have a handbook that will help you negotiate the intricacies of interstellar travel. I highly recommend Douglas Adams‘ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
From the publishing corporations of Ursa Minor, the only book you’ll ever need. Image from here.
Mr. Adams died in 2001, and fans all over this planet and elsewhere in the universe and other parallel dimensions remember his life and works each year on May 25, “Towel Day“. Users of this guidebook and readers of the author’s other works carry with them a towel and have their pictures taken with it.
Why a towel, you ask? Ah. Obviously you do not have a copy of HHGTTG yet. I strongly advise you to get one. Not only does it contain information about must-see scenic spots all over known space, it also gives the answer to the ultimate question on life, the universe, and everything. However, it does not provide the question. Oh, yes, towels. I hadn’t forgotten. Here:
From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
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 (non-hitchhiker) 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 hitchhiker 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.
Very sound advice, to be sure. Any person or creature possessed of even the rudiments of sentient thought will realize the necessity of having a towel with them at all times. I carry a small one in my bag whenever I leave the house, and I make sure my linen closet is stocked with an abundance of thick fluffy towels. Moreover, I always know, at any given time, where each one is. Clearly I am a man to be reckoned with.