In Honor of Towel Day–a free short story

Way back when, in a time when dinosaurs had big hair and metal bands wore make-up… Okay, I wrote this when I was in college in a galaxy far, far away.

Let’s try that again.

Here is a very old essay and since I reference that brilliant book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, I’m finally getting to post it on/near Towel Day. Technically it’s tomorrow, but I’ll be at comicon all weekend, so it’s going up early.


Me and My Backpack

In his book, The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams offers some very good advice, not only to freeloaders running around the universe, but also to students entering a university from high school. The most valuable advice offered to cosmic travelers is, of course, ‘never forget your towel’. To the new university student this translates into never forget your backpack.

The words ‘Don’t Panic’ sprawled in bright red letters across the cover of the Guide offer a sort of comfort to the new studen, but they don’t compare to the false sense of security provided by the backpack. In a world of spiked hair, fluourescent shirts, and bright jams the sober often drab color of the backpack reminds us that somewhere outside the university exists a world that still wears business suits, pastel pants and blouses, and elegant coiffures.

As we the students forage from class to class amid the skateboard fanatics, roller derby skater, mad bicyclists and deranged electric cart drivers, gasoline fumes miraculously stored in the backpack, remind us tat just beyond those buildings lies a civilized world of gas hogs and coal consuming power plants. Although the backpack offers a physiological comfort, no one can deny the pleasure created by whacking a skater, who deliberately ran over your foot, upside the head with your backpack.

In many cases the backpack may exceed the boundary of just a security blanket and become the student’s best friend. Many students can be seen around campus openly carrying on conversations with the backpacks while eating lunch. Some students hide behind newspapers and pretend to be reading when actually they are talking to their backpacks (the record shows that no backpack has ever responded).

Students and backpacks are never separated. Backpacks can often be seen hanging to their pals shoulders during a conversation among friends or receiving the customary piggy-back ride while traveling on bicycle or climbing up stairs. The loss of a backpack either by a falling out or kidnapping causes sever depression among the owners. Even the bright colors and strong arms of a new backpack can never take the lace of the first. should the backpack make it to graduation, many doctors are now able to surgically remove the backpack.

Besides being an ever present friend, backpacks also make very good bedfellows. When students are unable to get enough sleep the previous night, they can use the backpacks as a pillow or a substitute teddybear.  If students are uncomfortable sleeping in strange sleeping in strange surroundings backpacks are able to stand guard duty.  Placed close by, with them partially unzipped (just enough to show a little teeth) they can frighten off many potential disturbances. Most important, if a student is tiny enough he may be able to crawl inside the backpack for warmth on a cold winters day.

In the Guide, everything is stored in the towel. Items that are asked to be borrowed have just been temporarily misplaced, the same also applies to the backpack. When a studen asks to borrow a piece of paper, it isn’t because the student didn’t buy any (no self-respecting student would admit to that) it is just that all the heavy books are on top of it and they can’t reach it. Pens and pencils are a different story. Everyone knows that a backpack lives on pencil lead and drinks ink (various ink and pencil marks are found near every opening). And that hollowed out shells are lost forever in the bottomless pit of the backpack. It is only when you begin to search for change to enter Vendoland that old carcasses are dredged up. The old excuses concerning the disappearance of homework like the dog used it as toilet paper and I forgot it at home are replaced by my backpack ate it.

Backpacks do provide some services not mentioned by the Guide. Miscellaneous edibles can be stored in there like sandwiches, homemade cookies, chips and fruit. Experience tells us that aromatic food frequently disappears between entering and leaving the backpack (questioning the backpack provides no answers). although it is ideal for food, the portable cafeteria does not provide beverages; therefore, various on-campus vendors must be consulted when thirsty.


Backpacks have not been known for being able to control their bladders especially during class time or in transit. These leaks can prove awkward.

Students new to university life would have trouble making the adjustment if it was not for their backpacks. The self-confidence provided by the backpack eventually enables students to switch to the briefcase. Although this does not usually occur until their Senior yer or upon entering Graduate school. And when our memories of university life start to wan, the times spent with our backpacks with be forever ingrained on our stooped shoulders minds.

About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at She’d love to hear from you.
This entry was posted in Life Observations, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In Honor of Towel Day–a free short story

  1. danrshaw says:

    What drugs where you using in college?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s