“…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.”
Roughing it/ Slumming it-
Roughing it is living without all the comforts, and sometimes even without the necessities. The easiest path to having more is to desire less, even without Wi-Fi. I spent two years in the mountains with really only clothing, a few books, and my laptop. All of my worldly possessions were in storage half way across the country. When I came back home and opened the storage lot door I realized that most of what I own I have absolutely no need for whatsoever. Being over encumbered slows you down, and causes undue stress. Having less means less to stress over.
Slumming it is making the best of what one has. Slumming it is adapting to any scenario and thriving in any environment. The rat and the roach always get a bad rap, but I have always admired their tenacity. If there is no food the common cockroach can eat the glue from book bindings. While I don’t at all recommend this culinary choice the spirit is admirable. So what if you only have Peach Schnapps, some old vermouth and an expired can of Miller Lite, when we let go of what we think we want we free ourselves to enjoy what we have. The colloquial phrase “ghetto fabulous” comes to mind.
Struggling against terrible odds and winning through-
You are terrifically subject to entropy in the universe. You are a meat skeleton hurling ever increasingly away from the dying sun of a dying planet in the unfashionable western spiral arm of the galaxy. Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception. Never forget how amazingly amazing it is that you even exist. Life is hard, sometimes exceptionally so. When the car dies, the dog runs away, and your wife leaves you it’s not time to despair, rather it’s time to start a career in country music.
Winning through means celebrating your victories over your failures. Sometimes difficult to do, but there is always something worth celebrating, even if, and often especially if that something is just but a lesson learned. From every mistake we make we learn. From every destruction comes a chance to rebuild, an opportunity for new growth. Keep an open mind, and open eyes. At times it may seem as if the entire universe is conspiring against us, but even as it is always darkest before dawn; the sun always comes up in the morning. (If it doesn’t then this is a wholly different issue and might be time to hitch a lift off-world. We’ll explore what to do during the Apocalypse in a future rambling)
Knowing where your towel is-
The Dude’s rug ties the room together, the Frood’s towel binds the cosmos. One’s towel is both practical and symbolic, like absorbent Tibetan prayer beads. Indeed one can 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 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 (a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course you can dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough….but draped over your shoulder, or around your neck the towel represents a symbolic reminder of who you are, where you have been, and what you have accomplished. It represents what you can accomplish if you don’t panic, and tells the world at large you are one of us.
The Towel is a symbol of all of us intrepid Galactic Hitchhikers, we Froodist monks. It’s our terry-cloth mantra: We rough it and slum it. We struggle against terrible odds. We are never cruel or cowardly, we never give up, never give in….never surrender. We abide infinite diversity in infinite combinations, and strive towards the needs of the many rather than the needs of the few or the one. We eff the ineffable, and boldly go; we are always excellent to each other. We know where our towels are at…we Don’t Panic.
Party on Froods. Stay hoopy my friends.
Stay tuned, next Saturday: The Ultimate Answer