The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as has frequently been noted, has a great deal to say on the subject of towels. It has significantly less to say, however, on the subject of Time Lords. What information it does offer is vague, self-contradictory, and subject to significant revision with each new edition. In more recent versions, the entire entry consists of the words "Probably extinct," with references to a very large number of footnotes that appear no longer to exist in our reality.

Older editions, however, generally conclude with the statement that the Time Lords are, in fact, the precise opposite of hoopy froods who know where their towels are. All versions, including those in which that note no longer exists, also feature, in small print, the additional annotation: "Some exceptions apply. See: 'The Doctor'."

Should you be brave enough to see "The Doctor," you will encounter the Guide's longest entry. Indeed, the Guide's entry on the Doctor is no less than eleven times longer than its entry on the entire Universe. It consists of amusing stories, odd rumors, obscure trivia, bizarre theories, obvious apocrypha, and probably several outright lies. One subject, however is conspicuous by its absence: the Doctor's entry nowhere mentions the topic of towels.

Instead, there are no fewer than three hundred and seventy-eight uses of the phrase "sonic screwdriver." A wide variety of functions are attributed to this (possibly mythical) device, including opening doors, piloting spaceships, scanning for whatever sort of thing you might be in the mood to scan for, and causing random bits of electronic equipment to spontaneously burst into flame. (Oddly enough, there is no mention of it being used for the driving of screws.)

Inspired by this fact, a small but enthusiastic splinter group of the galactic hitchhiker community has rejected conventional wisdom by choosing to regard the screwdriver, rather than the towel, as the one essential item for the modern galactic traveler. After all, they argue, why muck about with putting bits of cloth over your face when confronted with the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal when one wave of a sonic screwdriver can easily implode the Beast's eyeballs in their sockets? The fact that no one has yet succeeded in enabling a screwdriver to actually do this is regarded as a minor, temporary inconvenience.

In recent years, conflict between the "Drivers" and the "Towelers" has increased significantly, culminating in the tragic TowelDriver Riots of Zanterifus Nine, in which thirty-seven people required medical treatment after being smothered with towels, impaled by screwdrivers, or, in the case of one unfortunate and highly confused individual, both.

Many scholars of Hitchhikeology believe that this violent and frankly rather silly controversy has, in fact, been deliberately manufactured by a conspiracy of fanatical "Doctor enthusiasts" for the purpose of inducing the Time Lord to show up in person to intervene, whereupon they will, presumably, ask for his autograph. This theory is widely regarded as just cynical and paranoid enough to be true. There is, however, no consensus as to which side of the Towel/Driver debate the Doctor is most likely to come down on, a fact which has led to several vicious fistfights among senior academics.

The editors of the Guide have issued no official comment on the matter. However, they have been careful to point out the nano-scale-print disclaimer on page 79,432, which reads, "The editors of this publication accept no legal responsibility for any impalings, smotherings, or academic face-poundings caused, directly or indirectly, by any words, phrases, sentences, illustrations or scratch 'n' sniff patches that may or may not be included in this publication."

They also wish to add that, should anyone be able to ascertain the Doctor's whereabouts, they would quite like to have his autograph.