Monday, May 23, 2011

My Towel Day Story

In preparation for Towel Day 2011 here is the bit I wrote last year for Towel Day. Enjoy!
 This post is high on the Geek-o-Meter
You have been warned.

Today is May 25th, Towel Day. Towel Day celebrates the life of Douglas Adams. Many of the Geek Legions came to know Mr. Adams through his insanely funny series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He lead a colorful career writing for Monty Python (he was in 2 episodes), Dr Who (I warned you of the high Geek-o-Meter rating), and another series of books, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.  Douglas Adams was an atheist's atheist, so much so that Richard Dawkins dedicated The God Delusion (which I just reread) to him. I want to share with you, dear reader, my personal connection with The Hitchhiker's Guide. You see, I was reading the series when I was held up - twice.

I was young, confused, and living in Brockton, MA. It was a potential powder keg of disaster. Being young, confused, and sooo stupid, I thought it would be cool to get an overnight job at a gas station. I'd get some reading done and do what I want during the day. At no point did anyone say, "Dude, is that a good idea?" or "This is THE most stupid thing you've ever done." It probably wouldn't have helped anyway (notice the aforementioned young and stupid qualifiers).

I was reading the first book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy one night when I heard a tapping at the window of the veal pen I worked in. I lifted my eyes to see one of the proud citizens of Brockton standing there with bloodshot eyes and a surgical mask on.
"Give me the money," he stated in a laid back way.

I looked him over.

"I don't see a gun. There is no way I'm giving you any money if I don't see a gun." Damn straight! What kind of punk would I be if I just handed out cash to everybody?
He showed me the gun.

Hmmmm... change of plan, "Do you want the change too?"

He nodded.

I happily placed the coins and bills into a double layered plastic bag (I didn't want to bag to break on him) and he walked off into the night.

I didn't quit my job. Though I had been working there for less than a week I thought this was a fluke.

A few nights later I was reading the second book in the series The Resaurant at the End of the Universe. It was foggy, like London foggy (I've been there a few times) when I looked up from the book and there was my old  friend walking out of the vapors. Spooky. He was considerate enough to have the gun out and I quickly shovelled the money into the plastic double layered bag (I was all about customer service). We shared a silent, awkward moment and he walked back into the night.
I still didn't quit. Maybe I had a death wish. Maybe I was stupid. Maybe I had a death wish and was stupid at the same time.

A few nights later I was reading the third book in the series, Life, the Universe and Everything. A coworker of mine was a particularly unattractive middle aged woman who was having sex with the unattractive middle aged store manager. This is an important point. She waddled over to me one night and we had a pleasant exchange of ideas. It's important to note that she was outside and I was talking to her through the window.

"Gimme fifty dollars," she demanded.

I looked her over. No gun.

"No," I went back to reading my book, hoping she'd just go away.

"Jimmy," (the manager and not his real name) "would give it to me."
"I'm not Jimmy," I kept reading.

Little shards of glass splintered all over the pages. I looked up and there she was holding a plastic oil container like a baseball bat. Oh, did I mention the gaping hole in the freakin' glass? Like a hole big enough to put your head through.

I looked at her, "Now what am I going to do?"

"You're going to have to call the cops," she muttered.

"I guess I am going to have to call the cops," I replied.

I called 911 and she just hung around outside until they came. Very awkward.
That morning I came to my senses and quit.

It was just another day...

in Hell (too crazy to be Purgatory).


  1. It's not that you didn't quit your job that I find odd....more so that you kept reading the book. :)

  2. I've just forwarded your blog to a couple of friends who are working on a "secularist" recommended book list. I read you frequently - almost daily. Keep up the good work.

  3. Aww; I missed it!

    On the plus side, so happy to have discovered your blog! "Atheism, parenting, and comedy." Yep. I'll definitely be back.

  4. I'm glad you found Purgatory!


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