Happy Towel Day

In the spring of my senior year of college, I went through an insomniac phase. Hope springs eternal, so I lay down in the dark every night, but staring at the ceiling for four hours proved torturous—duh—and I turned to audiobooks for distraction. I burned through Coraline in two nights. A Wrinkle in Time took three. Derek Jacobi read me Sherlock Holmes for a week, and the Harry Potter series almost lasted through finals, but my strongest audio memories from that semester are of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, read by Stephen Fry.

I had been a casual Adams fan for years, much as any well-rounded geek might be, but something about Stephen Fry’s smooth, plummy voice, tripping blithely from absurdity to absurdity, suited my sleep-deprived mental landscape and, infinite improbability of improbabilities, banished the tedium. I’m not a great rereader, rewatcher, or relistener, but when Hitchhiker ended, I put it on again. And again. And eventually I found myself drifting off earlier every night; maybe my subconscious was trying to spare another go-round of the Vogon poetry reading?

Whatever the reason, as as an addendum to the fun I’ve had over the years finding ways to work a towel into my ensemble, I’d like to take this Towel Day to remember that rekindled affection for Douglas Adams’ wonderful, whacky galaxy, and say—what else?—thanks for all the fish.


Megan Messinger is sleeping much better these days, thank you.

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