Towel Day, 25 May 2011, Remembered

Dear Colleen Tolle,

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Daryl Hall,
The Froody Folk

The novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams has grabbed the collar of 2 generations and told us that the spirit of ridiculousness has literary merit and that British humor may actually be humorous.

Oh Mr. Adams, we miss you and know that you are watching Mos Def and Martin Freeman on some intergalactic cable presentation, knowing also that you are not in Heaven yet, but that you have left Earth like the dolphins for a time. Enjoy your journey, sir.

As for the towel, the FAQ explains here. Be sure to watch the video clip of Douglas Adams explain his origin of the towel (and the universe and everything). You will need a towel for a host of situations and experiences. Imagine ship-jumping or sleeping in an alien bog without one. You do not want to, you say? Me neither.

Of course, here on Earth, the use of a towel has a more metaphorical meaning. Yes, you dry off after a shower. Yes, you have   your favorite, cushy, flamingo towel for beach-side love affairs. Yes, the kitchen eats enough of your paper towels not to have a terry cloth dryer to help offset the cost of convenience. But, I imagine a true hitchhiker’s towel to be more of a security blanket. Seriously, the following links are reminders of blankets of yore:

Angel Dear blankies
I remember these. But they seem cozier than the grandmother-knitted versions.
Swankie Blankie
Here's to the ambitious, entrepreneurial mom.
Made me laugh blankie
Well, it did make me laugh. I wish more of the links worked, though.
The Blankie Chronicles and its similar Typepad counterpart
A truly charming blog about family and connections.
Serenna's Blankie Tantrum
A little girl camps the washer, the hostage location of her blankie.
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown
Official trailer for "Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown":
Linus is pushed to his limits when he learns grandma is coming to visit and
plans on ridding him of his childish security blanket.  . . . In the end, insightful
Linus points out that everyone has their own type of "security blanket" and in life
a little security is a valuable thing.

But I did not have my towel today. In fact, I felt a bit out of sorts all day. I was rushing to be on time at every meeting, appointment, and class at which I was needed. I ended my hectic (ever cognizant of my attempt at maintaining a good mood), spirited day with an impulse trip to Lund’s for a Grilled Colleen Sandwich. And no, I’m not so arrogant as to name a sandwich after myself for any other reason than no one else would deign to eat it.

TANGENT: Recipe for a Grilled Colleen Sandwich

  • cast iron skillet (it really does make a difference)
  • 2 slices Lund’s Vienna sandwich loaf
  • whipped sweet cream butter for the bread (butter side down on pan)
  • 1 small, sloppy pile of Boar’s Head Ovenroast Turkey
  • 1 slice extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 slice swiss cheese
  • 1 slice tomato (I use Bushel Boy tomatoes… eat local!)
  • 1/8 slice avocado
  • optional: 2 slices bacon, 1 finely sliced baked brussels sprout (this is hard to accomplish but worth it), or 1 quarter banana sliced in 3 lengthwise strips.
  • Instructions: Assemble very, very slowly in the order listed above. If done correctly, the sandwich will be warm to the touch before you place the second slice of bread onto the top.

So what have I learned here? How much reflection do I really need to determine that I felt odd and a grilled sandwich fixed me right? Douglas Adams has a message on the subject. From The Hitchhiker’s Guide, we are told, “This planet has — or rather had– a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time.”

Well that tears it, America. I figured out why we need our towels, why a weirdly compiled sandwich can assist, why we need each other. The esteemed Hitchhiker author shows us that being unhappy and having towels are point-counterpoint to each other. Thank you, Douglas Adams.


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