Attention, people of Earth. Are you prepared for … Towel Day?
I hope so, because it’s coming tomorrow.
Wait—you say you’ve never heard of Towel Day? It’s OK. Don’t panic.
Towel Day is a tribute to science fiction author Douglas Adams. Adams is the creator of, among other things, the critically acclaimed series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and each year fans celebrate Towel Day on May 25.
Towel Day started in 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death.
The origin of this tribute can be found in a passage from Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide:
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you—daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)”
There’s a Towel Day video game. An International Vogon Poetry Slam is going down in Tallahassee, Florida (don’t worry if you can’t make it in person, though; they accept online submissions to be considered as the Worst Possible Poem). Events by fans are planned in Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico—pretty much all over the world. In 2015, an astronaut sent a Towel Day greeting from the International Space Station and read a snippet from The Hitchhiker’s Guide. There’s even a Towel Day ambassador. Lisa Orozco won the right to represent Earth this year in that role.
So, does Towel Day sound like your cup of tea, or are you scratching your head right now, wondering about the future of humanity?
Look at it this way. In every area of our lives, there are things to which we are passionately devoted, but which others don’t understand. We get into odd hobbies with arcane language and rules. We follow hopelessly complicated sports. We collect items with a dodgy provenance, carefully labeling and cataloging while telling ourselves that our collection is now the greatest.
The same thing happens in business. Whatever you’re making or selling, a cloud of specialist terminology, complex rules, and probably unnecessary practices builds up until an outsider (read: future customer) can’t understand how or even why to properly purchase and use your product.
I think this happens in every industry in which Draper is involved, but especially the AV industry. UHD. 4K. 8K. Viewing angles. Ambient Light Rejection. Etc.
Which is why Draper works so hard to come up with tools like the Projection Planner to make the job of picking the right screen for your room that much easier, even as that choice is a more scientific one. It’s why we work with our dealers and installers to make improvements in products and processes. And it’s why our inside sales, technical, and customer service staff bend over backwards to make sure our customers understand what’s going on, and that their experience will be a positive one.
I guess you could say Draper is your metaphorical towel—there to help when there’s a problem, and to make our dealers and customers look good when its crunch time and the AV equipment needs to work.
So let Draper make you look like a hoopy frood to everyone around you. And Happy Towel Day!