SURVIVING: OBSERVING NATIONAL TOWEL DAY!

Today is Towel Day. A day of joy for the author of my favorite books, a day of mourning for his far too early loss.

If you read the books of Douglas Adams, and in particular, the five-part trilogy beginning with “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” you get it.

Observed annually by fans of Douglas Adams, Towel Day commemorates the work of the author most known for his book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is not the day he was born because while almost no one famous was born on my birthday, Douglas Adams was, indeed, born on March 11, 1952 … five years after me.

Douglas Adams

He died for no observable reason — no doubt called “heart failure” because no matter what else is going on with your body, if your heart stops, that’s a signal that all other activity is going to very shortly stop too.

I loved his books. I still love his books. I still have all of them on my bookshelf and in my audiobook library too. It started as a radio show, then became a series of TV shows, an occasional (unfortunate) attempt at movies, and most recently, the favoritest of my favorites, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” and its brilliant sequel, “The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” were made into a BBC series. As far as I know, it was a disaster. I had been slightly optimistic about it this time because they were using real actors and scripts and even had a budget, so I thought maybe, just maybe, they’d get it right.

They didn’t.

It was very briefly on the air (I forget the channel, it may have been Acorn), then was pulled right back off. So I’m still waiting for someone to do a really good version of any of his books. Where they more or less follow the original story and don’t decide to go and do their own thing.

Why do production companies do that? They buy a best-loved property, then ignore it and produce something else just using the original name. A few of us go to see it, are hideously disappointed, and go home grumpy and dispirited.

But today is a day for joy and celebration. Whip out your favorite towel and show the world how you can conquer it and all the reaches of the universe using only your towel. Don’t stop with merely drying off. There are galaxies to vanquish wrapped in that Turkish baby!

And finally, there is only one last thing to say:

TWO LADIES – THURSDAYS’ SPECIAL

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: FEMALE

This house is nicely divided between two guys, and two ladies. Well, even better because two of our creatures are Scottish Terriers and the rest of us are … people. Last I looked, anyhow.

I tried to take a proper selfie today and remembered why I don’t. My arms are much too short. I looked horrible. I don’t mean “not too great” but more like “Bury that, please.” Bad. I wanted to post a picture since I got new glasses a couple of weeks ago. So far, no one has noticed the new glasses. I think they are quite different from the old ones, but apparently no one, including my son, can tell the difference.

I also look older, but that’s because I am older. Also, it seems I have an uneven ears. With wire rims, I could twist them a bit so they looked straight, but these don’t twist so they sit slantwise on my face.

I’m glad that full size glasses are back. I was tired of the itty bitty ones.

Now there’s the other lady in the house: Bonnie. Some might say she is a bit fat, but Garry says she is perfect!

Bonnie has perfect vision and does not need glasses. She is, my husband assures me, the perfect little girl.

jupiter najnajnoviji

CHOOSING YOUR FAMILY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

There’s a saying, “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”. I have been lucky enough to be able to actually choose some of my family. I was married to Larry for 25 years. I like to joke that when we got divorced, I got custody of my in-laws.

But let’s go back to the beginning. When I was 24, I first met the family of my fiancée, Larry. Larry’s parents had just separated. So when I was being introduced to the family, so was my father-in-law, Bert’s, new girlfriend, Joy. They married and were together until his death over 40-years later.

At the time, I was in law school in Washington D.C. with Larry but my parents had a summer-house in Easton, CT. Larry and I spent time there when we could. Coincidentally, Joy lived 15 minutes from my house in Easton in an adjoining town. Larry and I moved back to New York City after law school and ended up spending more and more time in Easton, CT.

So, over the years, we spent a lot of time with Bert and Joy, particularly after we had our two children. When I was 40 and my kids were five and ten, we moved full-time to Connecticut. Bert and Joy became an even bigger part of our lives.

To be honest, Larry never got along that well with anyone in his family, particularly his Dad. So when we separated, it was only natural that I maintained my relationship with Bert and Joy. It became a bit more odd when I met Tom and we became a couple. But Bert and Joy just adopted him into the family too.

Around the time of the separation, Bert and Joy moved to Florida. They wanted to spend part of every summer in Connecticut so they could see their old friends and family. Guess who Bert and Joy stayed with for six weeks a year for the next decade or so? Me, and then me and Tom after we got married. Bert and Joy would spend maybe two nights with his daughter and one or two with Larry. The rest of the time it was me and Tom all the way (along with whichever child was home for the summer).

Bert and Joy loved Tom and Tom loved them. People thought it was strange that Tom was okay living with his wife’s ex-husband’s father and step mother. We got along famously and enjoyed our time together. It was sometimes difficult for Tom to explain how he was ‘related’ to Bert, but other than that, things went smoothly.

This was considered peculiar for the rest of the family. Other family members had ‘issues’ with Bert and Joy. They were known in the family as difficult, arrogant, critical, and opinionated. Tom and I just did our own thing and ignored these negative traits that drove their biological family crazy.

When Bert and Joy had to move into assisted living, and after that, a nursing home, I flew to Florida with my sister-in-law to help them move and adjust. (Larry died suddenly in 2005 at the age of 58). I was there for Bert until the end. When Bert did estate planning and gave gifts to his children and grandchildren, I was included in his generosity. He always supported me in every way.

I lost my Dad in 1981 when I was 31 and he was 90. From my thirties into my sixties, Bert was my only ‘Dad’. It was a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, Bert was my ‘Dad’ longer than my real Dad was. So I got to ‘choose’ a surrogate father. My life, as well as Tom’s, was much richer because of that choice.

A PEN THIEF CONFESSES – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I could run for elective office if I so chose. Even in retirement, after more than 40 years as a TV and radio news reporter I’m sufficiently recognizable that I could put my name up for election. I don’t have a lot of skeletons in my closet. Certainly none scandalous enough to draw attention. Maybe, given the way times have changed, I don’t have enough skeletons, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Nonetheless, I felt it was time to come clean about the addiction I have not been able to shed. I steal pens. I am a pen thief.

My reputation precedes me into the offices of public officials, religious leaders, doctors, lawyers, business, and law enforcement. I am welcome with smiles and handshakes — but the pens are locked away.

My pen thievery is the stuff of legend, admired by icons like “Tip” O’Neill, the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Tip” and I once swapped anecdotes about the quality of watches and pens on “The Hill”. He actually once double dared me.

Having swiped pens from Scotland Yard, the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, state houses, city halls, and other high-profile venues, I set my sites on the biggest of all: The Oval Office.

I’d already established a rapport with then-President Clinton. He knew and liked me. I had it planned. A one-on-one interview with no one else in the big room. I diverted the President’s attention and reached for one of his elegant pens — only to find him staring at me. Smiling.

“We know all about you, Garry”, President Clinton smiled cheerily.

Turns out the good pens had been stashed and replaced by cheap, discount ones that dried up after a few uses. I later found out some of my best political contacts — on both sides of the aisle in DC — had joined in a bi-partisan move to warn the President about the notorious pen thief from Boston.

Being a legend isn’t as easy as it looks.