Wear the Towel, Carry the Lilac . . .

Lilac Towel

Today is an extremely important day in the Argh Universe because it’s Wear the Lilac and Carry Your Towel Day. And this year is especially poignant because we lost the guy who wrote the lilacs, Terry Pratchett, and the guy who voiced the robot who worked for the people who carried the towels, Alan Rickman.

Towel Day is held in honor of Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy. We lost Adams fourteen years ago (that doesn’t seem possible), but his work will never die, especially Marvin the gloomy robot as voiced by late and much-loved Alan Rickman:

Wear the Lilac Day comes from the Discworld Books, but it became an informal part of the fight against Alzheimer’s when its creator, Terry Pratchett, was diagnosed with the disease in 2007. We lost him this past year, but it’s a small comfort that he met Death on his own terms, as described in Pratchett’s Twitter feed which announced his end:

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Carry your towel (thank you, Douglas Adams), wear the lilac (thank you, Terry Pratchett), and try not to weep (although Marvin would, thank you, Alan Rickman). They may be gone, but as Pratchett said in Reaper Man, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”

They’re gonna live forever.

27 thoughts on “Wear the Towel, Carry the Lilac . . .

  1. I’d almost forgotten. Thank you Jenny for the reminder and thank you to three of my favourite British gentle men, gap intentional.

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  2. Yep. It is wearing the lilac and carrying the towel and also my last ever day as a parent to kids in high school. I am getting a little teary thinking about it. So many things are fleeing into my past.

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    1. Missing Alan Rickman. Sad for all those missing Terry Pratchett. Selfishly feeling left out because I can’t seem to read him and those who can love him so much. Read every word Douglas Adams ever wrote though. Also lilacs make me sneeze so I’ll have to go with lilac colored towels.

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      1. Have you tried the Tiffany Aching books? My mom didn’t like the Discworld books but she likes those. I don’t like the diggers (?) But I adore the Discword books. Sometimes it matters what book you start with too. I always tell people to start with Thief of Time or Pyramids.

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        1. Pyramids, really? I’m listening to it now and am really having a hard time getting through it.

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          1. I loved Pyramids. It has one of those images that stays with me: the hero walking down the street after his father dies and wheat springing up in footsteps, bread loaves bursting into wheat as he goes by. Or whatever that was. His father dies and he becomes a god and he’s just a college kid. It’s assassination college but still, just a kid. And I loved the college stuff, the hazing and that almost lethal final exam. It’s one of my Pratchett faves.

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          2. I just reread it and I’d forgotten it lags a little bit til the middle. Thief of Time is my all time favorite.
            I’ve never listened to an audio book. Does the narrator do different voices, or is it a straight reading? And what happens if you don’t like their voice?

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          3. Thief of Time is mine, too, closely followed by Going Postal. I just think Going Postal is easier on first time readers; it’s the first Moist book so it’s all new to him, too.
            But I have a real soft spot for the insanity of Pyramids, like the ancestor worship carried out to its logical conclusion. Not to mention our hero, the god-king, meeting up with his old college roommate, the master smuggler. Damn, I love Pratchett.

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      2. I highly recommend Nation if you can’t get into Discworld. It’s terrific, and it doesn’t have the footnotes that some find distracting. Dodger is great, too.

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    2. Like teacher conferences and emergency rides to school.
      But yes, I wept like a baby through Mollie’s graduation, and I was a teacher at her school. I kept seeing her going out the door on the first day of school, it’s imprinted on my brain: she had a little navy blue skirt with purple rosebuds and a white tee-shirt, and she had a bag with all her things in it and bouquet of daisies for her teacher, and she was so little, and her hair was still white-blonde, standing in that doorway looking back at me as the bus pulled up.
      And now she has a daughter in second grade, a daughter in kindergarten, and a son in pre-school. “Fleeing” isn’t the word for it.

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  3. Three of my very favorites.

    Although I’ll admit I haven’t watched the Hitchhiker’s movie under the (possibly mistaken) belief that it will be very disappointing, despite the brilliance of the source material and the excellent cast.

    I’ve been taking my oldest on college visits this month. I’m sure I’ll be sobbing my way through her graduation next spring. No matter how many people tell you that the childhood years race by, you can never quite believe it until you experience it yourself.

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    1. I’ve heard the movie is terrible, and that clip really isn’t very good. But it has Rickman, so it’s good.

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    2. I enjoyed the movie, having read the book, but loving it the way I love Pratchett. So I wasn’t really invested, and enjoyed quite a bit of it.

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  4. Go to YouTube and watch the musical opening. Pure magic.

    Even though I love it (Martin Freeman is always fun), it’s not for everyone.

    But the Dolphins cheer me up every time……

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  5. I forgot he was in this. And Martin Freeman. And whatsherface. It wasn’t as good as the books, but what could be?

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      1. The BBC TV series was also quite good. Public TV in Minneapolis used to run it on Sunday nights

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  6. It seems like I’ve been in a constant state of mourning for the past half year as creator after creator after creator has died. But it’s an odd state of mourning, somewhat vibratory and exciting, because I can still dive back into the worlds they created and it’s only sad when I come up for breath and realize there will not be any more that’s quite like what they’ve left.

    But oh, what they’ve left! Yes, they will live forever. Or at least as long as there’s someone left to read or listen or watch.

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  7. My first Pratchett was Thud, a Jenny recommendation–thanks! It made me a Vines partisan ever after. I have re-read Night Watch multiple times because Vines is stalwart in the face of stupidity and uncertainty and he knows the powers that be are ar**holders to the lot of them. Good to know in this election year.

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