What started as a joke took life as one of the most sacred rule in his seminal work, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy (H2G2).One of the first advice For Prefect gave to Arthur Dent was to get his towel.
It’s no surprise that H2G2 has captured many hearts—it’s just achingly hilarious. Just take a look at this compiled uses of towel for a hitchhiker around the galaxy.
This section in H2G2 explained one of them:
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.
I can still remember my feeling of disgust when I read the part where somebody ate the mold on the towel for nutrition, or drink from the moisture of the towel. Suffice to say, I laughed hard through the absurdity of the idea, though when you think hard it does make a lot of sense where survival is concerned.
Which is exactly what I like the most about Douglas Adams—the absurd concepts that he came out with.
Maybe some other time, I’ll talk about the ingenuity of the Babel fish, the mindboggling Bistromathic drive or the annoying doors that sigh in pleasure for a job well done.
But just for now, I urge you to pick the book and be prepared to be tickled silly. Yes, the UNSW library has a copy of the complete trilogy of 4 books!
There’s a reason why the book was number 4 on the BBC’s Big Read list.