Copyright ©2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

"Pirates" fans are pretty obsessive.

ALEX COHEN, host:

Aye, Maddy, they are.

BRAND: Oh my God, Alex. Are you one of them?

COHEN: No.

BRAND: So thankfully Alex isn't one of them, but maybe she is a fan of the Douglas Adams novels. Are you a fan of them, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"?

COHEN: I read. Not necessarily a fan.

BRAND: All right, listeners, if you're not a fan, the basic story goes like this. A guy leaves planet Earth just before it's destroyed, he then travels the galaxy learning about alien cultures.

Mr. TOBEY LANDON(ph) (Fan): He also learns that a towel is the most important thing to bring with you. Don't leave Earth without it.

BRAND: Words to live by. That is Tobey Landon. He and "Hitchhiker's" fans keep up the tradition of something called Towel Day. Towel Day today. Adams died six years ago this month. I guess Towel Day is in honor of him. Tobey lives in Sweden, but thousands of people all around the world do this. And you can find pictures of them on lots of photo blogs.

Mr. LANDON: You can choose a small pocket-sized towel, a hand towel, if you wish to, even though the real fans carry largish bath towels. Some people look strangely at you, but it's mostly just explaining to them the story behind it.

BRAND: Okay, the story behind it. "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Towels. Whatever flips your boat.

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