Slip on your dressing gowns and prepare your Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters – it’s Towel Day, a festival for froods everywhere.
If the above sentence doesn’t mean anything, you‘re probably not acquainted with the author Douglas Adams, or his five-part masterpiece The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2, for short).
The Guide defines a frood as a “really amazingly together guy” and thousands of them will be celebrating Adams (pictured below) and his science-fiction-comedy this Sunday by carrying towels with them all day.
As the first of Adams’ five-book "trilogy” makes clear, a towel is more than just something to dry off with after a shower. It can be used as clothing or disguise, a weapon or vehicle, or to lie on or under.
On May 25, Guide-themed goings-on take place around the world and fans are encouraged to send pictures of themselves with their towels to the website towelday.org. The site lists organised events in 22 different countries.
The towelday.org webmasters, who work anonymously, say they were particularly fond of an observance in Bregenz, Austria in 2002.
Fans could attend The Arthur Dent Experience in front of the Bregenzer Festspielhaus, where a discussion between Adams’ reluctant hero and Mr Posser was re-enacted, complete with a yellow bulldozer and a bowl of petunias.
As the site states, “every frood with a towel could feel like Arthur and have a go at lying down in front of this heavy construction machinery” – just as happens early in the first book.
They also gave a thumbs-up to an ongoing French Towel Day tradition, the Towel Olympics, held in Paris.
Here, devots de serviettes take part in events including the towel throw, towel combat, towel skipping, and towel superman - a sort of long jump carried out while wearing your towel like a cape, as per the Man of Steel.
The traditional final event is the towel carry, where each team carries one of its members around a course on a towel, naturally.
Other international festivities to mark the day include readings of Vogon poetry (which, as any H2G2 fan will tell you, is the third-worst in the galaxy), treasure hunts, flash mobs, and the creation and drinking of the aforementioned Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, which are said to be “the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging - expensive and bad for the head".
In Norway, the Kolumbus public transport company is handing out free towels equipped with electronic passes that allow holders to travel free on its buses and boats from 12.42pm on Sunday.
There have also been Towel Day marriages between H2G2 acolytes – five that they know of in 2013, say the towelday.org team.
Adams is said to have come up with the idea for his galactic guide while travelling the continent, armed only with a well-thumbed copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe.
This budget traveller’s bible, published from the early 1970’s to 1996, was itself a champion of the towel as an essential item of hitchhiking kit. It postulated that, as long as you carried a good towel, you could go without a scarf, raincoat, groundsheet, flannel or extra jumper.
The author died at the young age of 49, after suffering a heart attack in California in 2001. Towel Day has been observed every year since it was first marked some two weeks after his death.
“We suspect Douglas would find Towel Day rather silly and unnecessary,” say the webmasters.
“But we don't really worry about that - we like the idea of helping to keep his memory alive and introducing new people to his writings, ideas and humour.
“We think that, in a small way, it makes the world a better place.”
Those guys sound like a bunch of froods who really know where their towels are. And as the Guide will tell you, there is no greater praise a galactic hiker can receive than that.