Just because Iím pro-market doesnít mean Iím not an environmentalist. I like nature. Iíd be sad if all the trees were uprooted and the wheat fields flattened so the whole country resembled a giant, hideous strip mall, like L.A. I donít want all the lions, tigers, and bears shot dead and mounted on David Lynch movie sets. Iím perfectly willing to do my part. I can limit my shower time to three minutes per week. Iím okay with wearing my running shoes until the soles flap against the sidewalk and electric bolts shoot up my shins. I can be persuaded to reuse the same Kleenex three or four times a day, to wash my workout clothes with the dishes, and to sprain my fingers trying to squeeze the last bit of toothpaste from of the tube. But when costs start outweighing the benefits, enough is enough. Especially when it comes to public restrooms.
Letís start with ďpaper-conservingĒ hand dryers. They are useless and I hate them. They scorch your hands with 150 degree wind gusts and STILL fail to dry them, unless by dry them you mean dry them out so they crack and bleed across the knuckles. Most people donít even bother to use the damn things, which means people are reaching for doorknobs with wet fingers, which is never smart. Itís silly enough to bother washing your hands in the first place if youíre going to turn around and grope the bacteria-coated doorknob (without a protective layer of tissue); itís downright dangerous to open doors with damp palmsóI once slipped backwards and fell over the janitorís bucket.
The other option is to wipe your hands on your linen pant suits and leave the restroom looking like, well, like you fell into the janitorís bucket. You might also leech three yards off the toilet paper roll and attempt to dry your hands with tissue so thin it disintegrates and forms grunt balls that stick to the webbing between your fingers. Which means you have to use even more toilet paper to unstick the grunt balls. How wasteful is that? How rude is it to leave a bastardized roll of toilet paper for the next person to use on her most private parts? If thatís not rude, I donít know what is.
On second thought, oh yes I do. Nevermind the unforeseen costs of electric hand dryers. How about the very obvious and aggressive ďenergy savingĒ measure of not flushing the toilet after tinkling. I personally know a few die-hard environmentalists who act like all liquids are the same and insist that itís wasteful to flush anything that wonít stop up the sewage pipes.
I donít get how anyone could think thatís okay. It is NEVER okay for a person to leave her brownish-orange pee bubbling in the toilet for the next person to discover. Human waste is poisonous and the number one cause of bacterial infections, the flu, and the Black Plagueóthat and rats who eat their own dead. There is no excuse to expose fellow beings to the foul and malodorous liquids the body excretes, or to put the rest of us in danger of being splashed by foreign microbes that wiggle into cuts on the skin and give us rashes at best but more likely herpes and gonorrhea and stuff. I donít care if your arms and legs are broken: you best get your chin on the flusher and PUSH DOWN HARD.
You have to wonder about the environmentalist who values eight ounces of toilet bowl water over human health and hygiene. Doesnít sound like a people-loving sort of person, does it? It makes you wonder if thereís a more insidious plan, a perhaps unconscious but certainly deep-seated conspiracy at work. The sort of environmentalist who leaves her pee in the public toilet for the next person to gag on sounds to me like the sort of person who prefers plants and facial mites to people. Sound to me like the sort of environmentalist who secretly wishes mankind would die off so the world could return to its original pristine, animal-eat-animal, caveman-eat-caveman state.
But ha! EVEN THEN, the jokeís on the environmentalist. How so? Once again, the beautiful Law of Unintended Consequences flips dingbatty logic on its head. Hereís the scenario: if due to a full-bladder emergency, you find yourself squatting over and potentially splashing yourself with someone elseís golden pond, youíd be apt to take an extra-hot, extra-long shower afterward, using extra-intense soap, or possibly bleach, if youíre feeling particularly squeamish. Which means that for the next several days your skin will be chapped and rashy, which means youíll be slathering yourself with twice as much lotion as usual. How much water, electricity, expensive ointments, chemicals and other raw materials does that sort of behavior waste? All to save a measly toilet bowlís worth of water.
Iím all for saving the planet. But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please, for the love of all things holy, flush the damn toilet.
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