More Than Hot Air: A Hand Dryer in the Penn Station Men’s Room Shares His Wisdom

By: Matt Summers-Sparks

Life is complicated.

Drying your hands is simple: Lather up. Rinse. Place hands beneath my nozzle to initiate hot air flow. Rub hands vigorously. Nice.

Once, right in front of me, a real gentle fellow, about 15, mistook another guy for his long-lost brother. But he, the latter, ridiculed the gentle fellow right here in the bathroom in front of me, the paper towels and everyone. I hated that. But I assisted that gentle fellow. That’s right — position my nozzle properly and I evaporate tears.

I dry hair, too.

That might be important someday.

I’ve never trusted paper towels.

A hand dryer exterminates any germs on your hands that feed on processed paper, while a paper towel tends to nourish those germs.

I once overheard a scientist explain to a lawyer that paper towels contain miniature barf particles and no one has proven that they don’t.

You blow your nose with paper towels. Why dry your hands with the same thing?

I’ve overheard people say a paper towel can be a breeding ground for airborne disease molecules or it may promote a pus-sac rash, but I wouldn’t say that.

All I can say is I pity the damned landfill that houses the vast supply of Hitler’s soiled paper towels.

The most discouraging part of my day is when I’m drying someone’s hands and he walks away before they’re dry. He disgraces himself and me.

Loneliness is the hardest part of my life. People come, dry their hands, then disappear. I once overheard some guy say that fatherhood is the art of letting go. He got it half right: Fatherhood and drying hands are the arts of letting go.

I’m not footloose — I can’t do anything I want. I can’t have a TV show. I can’t star in a movie with Maggie Gyllenhaal. But so long as I’m mounted on this men’s room wall, no one can tell me how to dry hands.