EW YORK — I’ve been thinking about buying one of those die-cast aluminum Dyson Airblade AB02s, because I saw one on Amazon for $1,484 — damn, I just checked again and it’s gone up a hundred bucks — and I’ve decided that the 42-second hand-washing regimen prescribed by the World Health Organization is probably not gonna work if I follow it up by a) flinging the water into the bathroom mirror with Jazz Hands, b) rubbing my hands on my jeans, or c) using the same nasty terry-cloth hand towel that’s been on the rack for the past 11 months.
Actually, I probably need two Dyson Airblade AB02s because I’ve got two bathrooms and I’m not gonna walk from one to the other just to dry off.
But I figure the $3,200 is worth it because CNN is constantly telling me that a droplet measuring a single micrometer, invisible to the nekkid eye but containing several trillion viral parasites, is lurking in my immediate vicinity, trying to kill me.
I think we should have an app for this. If Silicon Valley really wants to help out and start cleaning up its PR problem, somebody create an app that’s like GPS for viral sneeze droplets. You keep your phone open to a screen that beeps whenever the Apocalyptic Corona Torpedoes are within, say, 30 feet, and you carry around some kind of super-industrial-strength disinfectant spray — the kind of stuff they use to hose down truck-stop showers — and you spray in the general direction of the Parasitic Death Cloud and every time you nail a droplet, there’s a little explosive pop on your screen like old-school Space Invaders, and you just keep spraying until a GIF pops up of Zelda Rubinstein in Poltergeist saying This house is clean.
Because everything they say is way too vague. Remember when they started out saying, “Stay three feet away from people” and then the next day, “Wait, stay 10 feet away from people,” then, after considering the size of most multi-family apartment buildings, “Okay, stay six feet away from people,” but then there was a CNN “Special Report” that “Experts now say coronavirus droplets can be projected as far as 12 feet” (cue the theme from Predator) and so we should probably wear a mask? But don’t use the only mask that protects you, because we need those for people working in the hospital — use the mask that protects other people from the teeming cumulonimbus Germ Storm that’s probably already festering in your lungs but you don’t know it yet.
Could I just stop here a moment and say that maybe we have a Messaging Problem?
Well, Joe Bob, the virus is so new. We’re learning new things every day.
You’re learning every day how far a sneeze droplet can travel? Shouldn’t you have been cranking up those experimental germ cannons sometime in the past 2,000 years of scientific research since the sneeze is, you know, kind of eternal? The first copyrighted movie ever made is called Fred Ott’s Sneeze, indicating that they were apparently fully aware of the ramifications at least as early as 1894.
But it was, like, a full month before they said, “Do the mask thing,” presumably because modern-day Fred Otts were being recruited as laboratory volunteers so that white-coated technicians with clipboards could say, “Okay, sneeze again, this time in a northeasterly direction at a 45-degree angle to the ceiling fan,” and then after a month, “Eureka! We now know that putting a thin cloth over the nose cuts down the length of the sneezable projectile arc.”
But back to the Dyson Airblade. I’m a results guy, and the person I wanna hear from is not Dr. Fauci and it’s not Dr. Gupta, it’s whatever guy farmed himself out as the International Airport Lavatory Consultant in the late ‘90s. I don’t know who he is and I don’t know where he is, but this guy convinced airports all over the world — especially the big ones like Heathrow, JFK, Dulles — that they should spend millions of dollars creating bathrooms where you never touch anything. The safest place in the world to wash your hands is an airport.
Let’s start with the door to the restroom:
There is no door!
Instead of doors, you enter through a blind switchback — carpeted walls arranged in such a way that you can’t see around corners as you go in and out. Genius! Eliminating that shiny metal cylinder on the typical men’s room door that looks like a training device for aspiring fingerprinters.
Then, once inside the bathroom, motion sensors activate anything your penis, butt or hands might need to activate — the waterfall dealie on the urinal, the flusher, the TP dispenser, the locked-up circular container for the paper you put down on the toilet seat, the sink faucet, the soap squirter. You might have to improvise a little bit on the stall door — my recommendation is to shoulder it open (it will close on its own), and if you absolutely have to be barricaded in there, use one ply of toilet paper for the deadbolt. But the majestic conclusion to your airport lavatory visit is always . . . the Dyson Airblade.
Why is the Dyson Airblade so important in the Jetsons-style Contactless Bathroom?
Because if you wash your hands but don’t thoroughly dry your hands, you have actually created a germ and virus magnet on your body. There are various studies showing that the problem is not washing, it’s failure to dry, creating microbe-flinging in public, but I won’t bore you with those. Just trust me. Most men don’t do the 42 seconds with the thumb massage and all the six recommended motions of the World Health Organization, but even if they do get thoroughly washed, they have no patience for the drying process.
The Dyson Airblade does it in 12 seconds. The Dyson Airblade is saving humanity.
To prove my premise, let’s take a brief walk through hand-drying history.
Prior to 1907, any public restroom required either a Towel Boy (if you were at the Waldorf-Astoria) or your own pocket handkerchief (if you were using a wooden shed in Roanoke).
In 1907, the Scott Paper Company of Philadelphia introduced the first disposable hand towel.
In 1922, the Airdry Corporation of New York City introduced the first mechanical hand dryer — a hot-air nozzle activated by a foot pedal.
Ever since then, any bureaucrat charged with the hand-drying conundrum in public restrooms — think of all those roofless rest stops on the interstate highways — has had four choices.
The first, and most persistent, is the rectangular brown paper towel folded three ways so that when you pull one out, the next one pops up or pops down out of a canister. This is what you have in 80% of the restrooms in the world. Building managers hate these. They get strewn all over the floor. They get wet. People pull out six of them to get that seventh one that they think might be cleaner. They clog up toilets. But they have two advantages: They’re cheap (I found a price of $24 for 4000 on Amazon, but I’m sure the bulk price is cheaper) and they’re backed by Big Towel. That would be Kimberly-Clark, Georgia-Pacific and, to a lesser extent, Procter & Gamble. The Tissue Trust hates all other hand-drying solutions and spends millions trying to prove that hand dryers are monstrously evil germ-spreading folly.
The second, and most alarming, hand-drying solution is the cloth towel on a roller that locks once you pull down 14 inches of clean cloth so that you can dry your hands while the groady part used by the person before you rolls up into another part of the canister. I used to see these a lot, they’re not so common anymore, for a simple reason: they’re disgusting. They always end up wrinkled and wadded up so that you can’t really tell which part is still wet and which part is safe to touch your forearm. Why not just stretch a towel across the end of the room and assign each person a 14-inch patch? Plus, who knows where the used towel roller goes, who is in charge of cleaning it, and how often do they bring it back?
I’m eliminating the Reusable Towel Belt as any kind of ongoing hand-drying solution on the grounds of Ridiculous Idea In The First Place.
The third hand-drying solution is the dryer that most people know because it’s in every McDonald’s in the world. It’s the Model A introduced by World Dryer of Chicago in 1951. It’s a white box mounted on the wall with a silver nozzle on the left, a big silver button on the right — you press the silver button and put your hands under the nozzle and it feels like Shrek is breathing on your hands — although it normally does not blow the hot air for a long enough time so you have to hit it two or three more times if you truly want to leave the place without residual moisture. Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney encountered an especially powerful World Dryer in Help! because it sucked off the sleeves of their jackets.
And then there’s the Dyson Airblade. The Dyson Airblade blows cold air at four hundred fucking miles per hour and your hands never touch anything. You just stick them down into what looks like a robot smiley face with the eyes daring you to enter — in fact, it looks so futuristic that they used it as a background prop in the 2009 Star Trek reboot — and twelve seconds later you’re done.
The Dyson Airblade captures 99.95 percent of all particles 0.3 microns or larger. I’m not exactly sure what this means because I’m incapable of visualizing a micron, much less a third of a micron, but I think that adds up to everything on your hands gets blown away like a fly speck going through a jet engine.
Okay, so how do we get the entire world to start using the Dyson Airblade?
We scare them with filthy facts, of course. For example:
- Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis proved in 1847 that hand-washing could prevent disease. Nobody listened to him. Nobody wanted to do it. The doctors of Vienna were offended by the idea of washing their hands and mocked him — just like today, when 99% of people visiting a public bathroom will claim they washed their hands, but recording devices prove only 32 percent of men and 64 percent of women actually do.
- Two percent of landfill material in the world consists of paper towels. Because they can’t be recycled, but Big Towel sells $4 billion worth each year.
- The average person’s hand contains 3,000 different types of bacteria—and wet hands invite them to a party.
- Eleven percent of our hands are so contaminated that they carry as many germs as a dirty toilet bowl.
- Fecal matter can be found on one in six mobile phones, eight percent of credit cards, and six percent of paper money.
- When you look at hand sanitizer under a microscope, you find “triclosan-laced boogers.” Triclosan has been shown to damage the immune system and the reproductive system.
So, listen up, people. All we gotta do is scrub like the doctors on ER (be sure to do the thumb thing) and then stick our hands in a Dyson Airblade.
Actually, I don’t know if it’s coronavirus-related or not, but Dyson just came out with a brand-new product called the Long Tap Model AB10 that’s a combination water spout and hand dryer — the water and the gale-force winds come out of the same faucet! Can we give these guys the Nobel Prize? $1,899 on Amazon.
No reviews yet, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say totally worth it. I’m gonna vanquish every triclosan booger, relieve pressure on the landfills, and — oh yeah — construction guys are coming in next week to turn both of my bathroom entrances into switchbacks. It was either that or live at JFK Airport, and I’m too attached to my quarantine crib.
Since 1982, Joe Bob Briggs has been the drive-in movie critic of Grapevine, Texas.