Last week, we talked about the tools we can’t live without. But this blog post is about a wholly remarkable tool. It may, in fact, be the most remarkable tool ever to come out of the home furnishings section. Nevertheless, the blog post begins simply. It begins, with a quote:
A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] 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 vapors; 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-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); 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: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, 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 hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker 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.- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Now, while Ford Prefect may be a purist where his towel is concerned, he also felt it necessary to carry a messenger bag. I decided that a towel combing the two would make an ideal tool for a maker/Galactic hitchhiker. So, I grabbed a towel and a few tools I figured would be useful when hitchhiking the Galaxy on less than thirty Altarian dollars a day.
After much thought and discussion with my travelling companion (wife), we thought the best way to make this work would be to create a pocket at one end, and then roll it like a jeweler’s roll, adding straps for containment.
We laid out the towel, pinning it where necessary, and then we were ready to sew. The nice thing about this project was that we could use it for me to learn a bit about sewing on. (Shout out here to my sister, who tried to teach me this many years ago.)
All that was left to add was the straps, and figuring out a convenient way to carry it. Since part of the kit is crochet hooks (necessary for entertainment on long journeys across hyperspace bypasses), we had some yarn available, and made straps from that.
We loaded the towel with tools, rolled it up and used an old belt to ensure it never gets lost in transit. The downside to this is, the towel is now a little heavy. The upside is, if you need it for the aforementioned hand-to-hand combat, you are in really good shape.
Happy Towel Day, all you hoopy froods!