I should have posted this on the 25th May, the real Towel Day, drat I forgot, but as the great man himself said, "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” - Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt" 😊.
So it starts with a quote from a book, doesn't always? Anyway the quote is, "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is", by "Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
The significance of this was explained by "the book" in the original radio series thus:
"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker 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.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy."
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Towel Day was first held 25 May 2001 and has been held every year on the same day ever since as a commemoration of the author Douglas Adams and a tribute to his works by his fans who openly carry a towel with them to show their appreciation.
So, my dear Douglas, though we never met yet somehow I feel I know you well which is very silly really, there is my towel shown above - the genuine article and a treasured possession - in my own appreciation of the many hours of joy and laughter you gave me through your work on the radio and in your books which left me with so many quotable quotes.
Finally as I am writing this on a Thursday, I will leave the final words to you: “This must be Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.