Friday, June 17

To Know Where One's Towel Is

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker 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 mini raft 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 to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but 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 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.

Hence a phrase which has passed into hitch hiking 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.)
Chapter 3, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (published 1979). 

I like the idea of being a 'really amazingly together guy'.  Sounds like it might be nice for a change.  To be a hoopy or frood.  Wouldn't that be nice? 

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OK!  I've just come back from randomly and reminiscently swaying in my chair mumbling "wouldn't it be nice if the world was Cadbury?"  I wanted to read a lot today, but I couldn't get my eyes to focus on the letters and it was frustrating me.  So I bludged the day away.  
This afternoon, I experimented with using a microphone set and computer audio program to 'read on' and audio book.  It's something I've wanted to do for a very long time, but even after a couple of hours worth of fidgeting, I haven't been able to find a way of eliminating the horrible noise that lies over the top of the vocal recording.  When I first started I wasn't hearing it, and then all of a sudden, it was the only I can hear, and I can't get rid of it.  Hmm.  I know it's all terribly unproffesional, but I would still like to be able to produce a plausibe sort of result.  Maybe I just need to do it differently, but I'm not at all well up to know in programs and equipment of this sort.  This initial failure is accompanying a general mood of 'what the hey?' and 'I'm bored'.  I just don't know where my towel is today. 

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