It’s The Wrong Anniversary, Gromit!

25 May, 2010 at 11:40 pm (doric)

ThinkGeek: Don't Panic and Carry A TowelToday is May 25th, the anniversary of the original premiere of Star Wars in Los Angeles. This comes only three weeks after the designated Star Wars day, May The Fourth, and only a few days after what was, this year, the thirtieth anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back. However, there is some friction in nerd circles because the 25th of May is unofficially established as Towel Day, a day to memorialize Douglas Noel Adams, despite not having much of a substantive connection to Adams’ birthdate, the number 42, or various other potentially relevant dates.

It’s a muggy, hot New England day as I type this, and the heat is trapped inside my walls, wilting the the room and rendering any faint, hesitant climate controls (and perhaps my editing abilities) almost completely ineffective. It’s the kind of day where a towel to wipe down perspiration would not go amiss, and a beach towel would be even more advantageous, providing it came with a beach and a pleasingly cool ocean to go along with it. Despite being spoiled for choice when it comes to commercially available memorial towels, I’m not flying my terrycloth colors today. No, I provide you with this conurbation of links not just to close tabs on my browser, but also to muse on this nerd nexus of dates, observances, and inspirations all in close proximity.

WANTED: Feathers McGrawIt felt even more packed with inspiration that it ought to have due to two articles that filtered through my feed yesterday and made me wonder if it was Wrong Trousers Day as well. The first was an epistle to Feathers McGraw’s highly technical, inventive, and efficient casing of a locked, security-laden museum, and the second was that the astronauts currently aboard the space shuttle Atlantis were woken by NASA playing the claymation duo’s theme tune.

Not wholly unusual as coincidences go, but sufficient to make me wonder if maybe I’d marked down the date for Wrong Trousers Day — ahem — wrongly (I hadn’t, it’s still on June 25th this year), and that all of these geek favorites were all, in fact, cheek by jowl in May competing for some small slice of the fanboy love. I simply wasn’t sure that Hitchhiker’s, Star Wars, and Wallace & Gromit could all demand attention so close to each other and not result in fractious behavior. But I needn’t have worried. Aardman, Adams, and Alderaan all get their due space for recognition, allowing us not to have to worry about which allegiance (or Alliance!) to choose for our tweets, status updates, or the like. There is enough room in our hearts and enough room on our calendars.

FLICKR: Alderaan travel poster by Justin Van GenderenBut that calendar keeps ticking on. Today is still one more anniversary: that of Frank Oz’s birth, and he’s no spring chicken (or blue eagle) anymore. But then again, if Empire came out thirty years ago, not even most of its fans are that young any more, let alone its creators and performers. As Harrison Ford recently said, “I thought [Star Wars co-star Alec Guinness] was an old man: an old, wonderful actor. [But] I did the math. I figured out how old he was in Star Wars, and he was about six years younger than I am now.” Ford is 67, a mere year younger than Frank Oz. Alec Guinness was 86 when he died, Jim Henson was 53, and Douglas Adams was 49. It may all have been a long, long time ago — whether in a galaxy far, far away or in a field in Innsbruck — but we carry these men and their fantastic creations with us still. A hoopy frood always knows where his towel is, sure, but I’d prefer simply to know where my youthful inspirations are, and that they’re still here with us, always.

1 Comment

  1. Benjamin Russell said,

    EDIT: Waitaminute… Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson tweeted that today is also Ian McKellen’s birthday? I take it all back; it *is* a crazy nerd nexus in Late May, and the LotR and X-Men fans will soon be here to clamor for their piece of the pie, and I’ll be too exhausted to defend myself. I shall just drape this towel over my head and hope that since I can’t see them, they won’t be able to see me.

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