Author Topic: What is Towel Day?  (Read 15823 times)

Kilman

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What is Towel Day?
« on: May 27, 2009, 09:52:47 PM »
In a nutshell: Carry a towel with you all day on May 25th in memory of Douglas Adams.

The more verbose version:

In the initial days after the death of Douglas Adams (May 11th, 2001), most fans were stunned and waywardly groping for something indeterminate.  We didn't know what it might be, or what it might look or sound like, but it had to be something.  After all, DNA couldn't just die and that be the end of it.  Proposals were discussed, and when the idea of Towel Day surfaced, we knew we had found it.  We would carry a towel with us, conspicuously visible, all day long on May 25th no matter where we went. 

Feeling somewhat wounded, we relished the potential for strange looks, public humiliation, risk of job termination, school expulsion, strag derision.  Let them scoff - we had lost someone special.  And maybe we could enlighten a few of the curious who took the time to ask us why we had towels.

The first Towel Day ended up being rather successful, and rather than fade as we feared it might, it caught on and grew in popularity.  In time, people took to posting Towel Day pictures on the internet at the encouragement of people like Father Kojv (another sad loss Nov. 15th 2008).

If you are uncertain of the significance of the towel, I suggest (very strongly, because you are in for a treat) that you read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in five parts).  You can also read the top post in the "Uses of a towel" thread.

Certainly the first Towel Day was more mournful, and I think Towel Day has grown into much more of a festive celebration.  From messages previously viewable at kojv's site, I can tell you that it has come to mean different things to different people.

And in that light, I will step aside and allow others to tell us just what Towel Day means to them...
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 12:12:23 AM by Kilman »
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Grate Oracle Lewot

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 12:50:02 AM »
Well, the way I see it, it is a day honoring life and works of DNA, so it is at once mournful and festive. We are sad that he's gone, and before he should have been at that, but we're still celebrating how amazing, amusing, interesting, and hilarious his life and works were and are. For most of us, when we first experienced the Guide (whether it was the radio show, the books, or whatever that we found first), it changed us--some people in a big way, others in a smaller one, but always for the better. It was a special feeling, and we want to acknowledge that fact by remembering the person who made us feel that way. Most of us never got to meet him in person, and while we probably didn't expect to, there was at least a chance of it whilst he was still around, so now that he's gone, I think we need to tell other people what he meant to us since we can't tell him anymore. It's just wrong for the memory of someone special to die with him.

Most of that is from my personal experience, but I used "we" because I assume that other people have similar thoughts, otherwise they wouldn't be carrying the towel. For me personally, there's also a little bit of . . . how can I say this? I'm a very inhibited person, so Towel Day is really the only day of the year when I put aside my inhibitions. It's a nice feeling.
". . . We realised we had been myopically shortsighted to think this thing was just an adding machine. . . . So we began to develop it as a super typewriter. With a long and increasingly incomprehensible feature list. Users of Microsoft Word will know what I'm talking about."

--Douglas Adams

Teatime

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 03:09:37 AM »
There's little for me to add to both of your eloquent pieces except to say that Towel Day unites DNA fans all over the world. Maybe it won't bring about world peace, but it sure as heck can't hurt.   :D
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Kilman

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 02:14:28 AM »
Here is a well done video created for a Canadian TV show last year (in a mix of English and French).  It offers an explanation of what Towel Day is and how to participate.  (approx 6 minutes)

http://www2.tfo.org/Volt/Video/8611
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Teatime

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 03:42:09 AM »
That's cool! I like the towel snail and towel elephant.  Cute! That's the towel origami right? Hmm, maybe we'll try that.

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Grate Oracle Lewot

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 03:45:21 AM »
Yeah, I was gonna mention that. Have we ever noted that as a towel use? I don't think we have.
". . . We realised we had been myopically shortsighted to think this thing was just an adding machine. . . . So we began to develop it as a super typewriter. With a long and increasingly incomprehensible feature list. Users of Microsoft Word will know what I'm talking about."

--Douglas Adams

Kilman

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 03:47:46 AM »
Yes, it was used in the "Countdown to Towel Day 2011" at 48 days until...
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VogonGirl

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 03:19:34 PM »
I want to try towel folding this year.  It looks fun.
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Grate Oracle Lewot

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 08:12:57 PM »
Now, I have to admit I disagree with the guy's notion that a shiny, new, unused towel makes you look better. He did say a ragged one might make you look well-traveled, but then he said probably not. Personally, however, I think the whole point is to use the towel for various things, so I always wear my same towel for Towel Day, and I make sure to use it when I think to, and to take it on trips so that I know where it is while I'm away. Perhaps I should wash it once in a while, though. :P
". . . We realised we had been myopically shortsighted to think this thing was just an adding machine. . . . So we began to develop it as a super typewriter. With a long and increasingly incomprehensible feature list. Users of Microsoft Word will know what I'm talking about."

--Douglas Adams

Kilman

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 08:18:03 PM »
I got the impression that that guy was working at a store selling towels, so of course he would push new towels.  But I agree with you, how can you look like you "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" if your towel is all nice and new.
"That really is truly amazing. That is so amazingly amazing I think I'd like to steal it." - Zaphod Beeblebrox


Teatime

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 09:12:02 PM »
Yeah, a towel salesman will have a different perspective than a hitchhiker. LOL
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VogonGirl

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 10:23:12 PM »
Kilman, if you want a non-new-looking towel then why do you want all the good looking towels we have  saved for Towel Day? 8)
"In order to do something that you couldn't do before, you have to do something that you can't do." -Dr. Michael Bolin

Teatime

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2011, 10:36:41 PM »
Aha!
VogonGirl just brought up a good question. How many of us carry around an every-day towel for Towel Day and how many of us have a special Towel Day towel? 

I have a bath towel which didn't match any of the others, so I sewed a 42 on it one year. After that, I rarely let anybody use on other days.
"And time began seriously to pass."
from D.G.H.D.A.

http://afortnightofmustard.blogspot.com/
http://catholiconceagain.blogspot.com/
Syzygy's just this book, you know?
http://www.facebook.com/Syzygy42

Grate Oracle Lewot

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2011, 10:43:02 PM »
Yeah, ever since my first Towel Day, I've used the same towel, which prior to that was just one of our regular towels--but it looks just like the one used in the movie. Then I did buy a special black towel for Father Kojv that one year, which I consider to be my towel version of a tuxedo. I also have a "backup towel" that my little sister got me for a birthday present one time--it's orange.
". . . We realised we had been myopically shortsighted to think this thing was just an adding machine. . . . So we began to develop it as a super typewriter. With a long and increasingly incomprehensible feature list. Users of Microsoft Word will know what I'm talking about."

--Douglas Adams

Teatime

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Re: What is Towel Day?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2011, 11:07:28 PM »
... towel version of a tuxedo.

Love it!  :D
"And time began seriously to pass."
from D.G.H.D.A.

http://afortnightofmustard.blogspot.com/
http://catholiconceagain.blogspot.com/
Syzygy's just this book, you know?
http://www.facebook.com/Syzygy42