In the initial days after the death of Douglas Adams (May 11th, 2001), many of his fans were stunned and waywardly groping for something indeterminate. We didn’t know what it might be, or what it might look or sound like, but it had to be something. After all, Adams couldn’t just die and that be the end of it. Proposals were discussed, and when the idea of Towel Day surfaced, we knew we had found it. We would carry towels with us, conspicuously visible, all day long on May 25th, no matter where we went.
Feeling wounded, we relished the potential for strange looks, public humiliation, risk of job termination, school expulsion, strag derision. Let them scoff – we had lost someone special. And maybe we could enlighten a few of the curious who took the time to ask us why we had towels.
The first Towel Day ended up being successful, and rather than fade as we feared it might, it caught on and grew in popularity. In time, people took to posting Towel Day pictures on the internet on a forum created by Tobias Landin (aka Father Kojv – another sad loss Nov. 15th 2008).
After Father Kojv passed, a handful of the refugees from his website collected at towelday.net to continue the tradition of discussion and posting pictures on the forum. But by that time, other forms of social media had risen to prominence and the forum has been fairly quiet (though you are welcome to stop by and help rekindle the discussion).
Towel Day, however, continues to be popular and is now celebrated by people all over the world.
Fans of Douglas Adams and/or the Marx brothers might enjoy this little piece of Towel Day fiction:
The Ghost of Towel Day Yet to Come: A True Story (sort of)