According to Douglas Adams, author of the incredibly successful “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series of sci-fi/fantasy books, a towel is the most important item that a galactic traveler could ever carry around with him.
In his books, Adams lists the many and varied uses to which towels can be put, and, although most of us don’t have to battle Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal on a daily basis, we can surely think of at least ten practical situations that could instantly be improved should towels be introduced into the equation. Although towels – along with fine bathrobes and bath mats – are usually found in bathrooms, there’s no rule saying that they have to stay there, and the congenial towel is also known for its appearance in the kitchen (the oven towel), next to the pool (the awesomely absorbent chamois sports towel) and on the beach (the common-or-garden beach towel).
Towels are popping up in all sorts of strange places these days, and, while Japan gives us the exotic oshibori wet towel – used to wet one’s hands before eating – England offers the traditional tea towel, which dries cooking implements in the kitchen. Specific types of towels have also been developed for specific parts of the body, and foot towels and hand towels are common examples of these types of towels.
Monogrammed towels – where the towel-owner has made his or her ownership of a particular rectangular piece of absorbent fabric obvious by embroidering his or her initials on it – are no longer the domain of only the rich and famous, and, these days, anyone who buys a towel can choose to have it so personalized. Bath robes can also be monogrammed, but, as towels generally run a larger risk of getting lost among general bathroom laundry, monogramming seems to work better for towels than bathrobes.
Those who worship towels should mark every May 25th on their calendars: this is when Adams’ Towel Day is celebrated and also when every wannabe galactic hitchhiker carries their favorite – and oh so useful! – towel around with them.