Monday, September 21, 2009

Hankerin' for an Alternative to Paper Towels?

Check out my marvelous new invention!

But first, a little background. I had a hankering for a challenge, something to really test my manhood, so I went to the Change the World Wednesday Challenge and read "Can You go for a solid week without using one paper towel?"

"No sweat heh-heh!" I smiled to myself, "I don't like those girly paper towels anyway!" I have never been fooled by The Brawny Man; whenever I scrub up some substance spilled in an excess of gravity, I use rags from old T-shirts ripped and shredded by the flexing of my powerful torso. Otherwise, there are only few, very specialized cooking uses for which The Lovely Wife (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) mysteriously prefers paper towels (and what woman has no mysteries?), so to avoid needless conflict, I resolved to stay away from that particular cuisine for the week. Already I am Master Chief of the Challenge, and it has hardly begun!

Next morning, I got up as usual at Five-Oh-God-It's-Early and trotted off to the gym with The Lovely Wife for an hour of "spinning" (... pedaling madly on a stationary bike while a cheerful coach urges you on. The coaches are skilled at talking me into far more than I would achieve on my own, most likely because when my brain runs out of oxygen, it believes the coach when she says, "Ok, just a little bit more!")

A problem arose when I stopped in the locker room to "wash my hands" and, naturally, after soaping and rinsing just as they taught me in the Kiss Army, reached for a paper towel. Whoa, Dude! Minimizing environmental impact ran smack dab into public hygiene in the era of MRSA and Swine Flu! What to do?

There was no electric hand-dryer alternative. If no-one else was around, I would have simulated one by waving my hands in the air, but one of the Big Rules in the Men's Room is Never Do Anything To Call Attention To Yourself! (Rumor has it things are different in the Ladies' Room; some say they even talk to each other! Br-r-r-r-r-! There are, indeed, some things Man was not Meant to Know!)

Then I noticed my sweat towel. Hrm!, I reasoned, If it is good enough for sweat, why not good enough for drying my hands? The soap had already killed all the germs, so clearly the manliest thing to do is to use manly exercise equipment to totally eliminate the residual dampness on my hands (humble as it may be, even a sweat towel is exercise equipment.)

Soon thereafter, as I pedaled away and brain oxygen level hit new lows, I had a brilliant revelation: instead of relying on paper towels, why not be Independent and carry around personal hygienic drying-clothes? Terrycloth is too bulky, but plain cotton or muslin would do and could be folded to fit neatly into a pocket. Printed in a pleasing variety of colors, it could be useful for in a variety of situations, starting with the drying of hands, but extending to covering of mouth and nose during a sneeze, or wearing as headgear over that place where the testosterone is chasing away my hair, or even covering the entire lower face in a public health emergency or stagecoach robbery.

I have always had a hankering to be the Master Chief of any such crisis. Don't YOU? Well, you can! for if you ACT NOW, you can satisfy your Hankering to be the Chief of ANY crisis with my patented "HankeringChief" brand cloth squares!

P.S. They can cut down on your paper towel use too!


Mel said...

Ah, yes. I bought some terrycloth kitchen cloths at Target a while back. $3 for 5 of them, I believe, but you could use washcloths from the thrift store. I use them for cleaning up the countertop, any spills, and aiding in my cleanup of various kitchen equipment (like my espresso maker & cast iron pans).

I also use cloth napkins now, and was fortunate that my mom's family was very formal back in the day, so I have a nice selection of vintage linen ones, as well as some fair trade ones from somewhere in Asia. I take my cloth napkin to work in my lunchbox, as well, and pretty much use one of those a day, on average.

I will confess: the only thing I use a (one!) paper towel for these days is to re-oil my cast iron pan. Then I put the oily towel in the food waste bin we have at our building (yes, it's OK, I did read the handout on what and what-NOT to put in the food waste bin). I also only buy the unbleached brown paper towels (Seventh Generation?). They are made of recycled, post-consumer content material.

(Seventh Generation makes a dandy recycled TP, too!)

And, oddly, I still use tissues to blow my nose. I do buy recycled when they are convenient. I keep thinking of switching to hankies, but my mom (a microbiologist) keeps saying that is one place I need not go, recycling germs into and around my nostrila-thrilla-area....alas. :)

Small Footprints said...

LOL ... hehehe ... hahahaha ... lol!

Oh my ... that was brilliant! I giggled all the way through it!

Small Footprints