'Mostly harmless' and alike. Towel Day remembers Douglas Adams

Posted by on May 25, 2009

wordle-towel-day-smallYou may not be aware that today is Towel Day. All around the world people remember and celebrate the creative genius of British author Douglas Adams by carrying a towel around with them. Douglas Adams did not only contribute to the literary genre of science fiction but to the English language too. Here is a short list of terms that gained an extra dimension through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

42
Perhaps the most well-know example of how a simple number can take on quite a depth of meaning. Try typing the answer to life, the universe and everything into Google, without quotes or capitalising the small words, and Google Calculator will find the answer to the meaning of life.

not entirely unlike
This is derived from ‘almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea’ and has allegedly entered hacker jargon.

mostly harmless
The description of Earth in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

knowing where one’s towel is
This expression provided the inspiration for Towel Day. It refers to somebody who can stay in control of virtually any situation and comes from chapter 3 of  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

What the strag [nonhitchhiker] 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.

Happy Towel Day!

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Comments (1)
  • “Not enterily unlike”… reminds me of when Adams wrote about spaceships hanging in the air “much the same way bricks don’t”.
    Brilliant.

    More about Towel Day: http://www.towelday.org

    Posted by Koen on 28th May, 2009
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