Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Good Old Days

The simple act of washing and drying your hands in a public restroom has been needlessly complicated recently after some genius decided to wall mount an auxiliary power unit engine from a Boeing 717 and call it a hand dryer. The “Exlerator” blows hot air at an enormous rate of speed and at decibels that should require hearing protection. My brief visit to Target last night was prolonged when I found both boys on their knees underneath these hand dryers, their hair blowing behind them and the skin on their faces rippling in the stiff hot breeze.

“It’s like pulling 4 G’s in the simulator at space camp, dad!” the General shouted over the gale force winds.

They walked out of the bathroom with the hair disheveled messes, blown back behind them in every direction. It was the same effect as walking behind a jet engine. When that happened at the airport we called it “jet blast.” “Jet blast” was the nickname of one of my co-workers at Midway Airport. A hold-over from the big hair 80's, she styled her hair in such a way that it looked like she stepped out of the shower and onto the ramp where she asked a pilot to light off an engine on a 737 to use as a blow dryer.

The boys love the Exlerator. The girl hates them. She screams and covers her ears every time they opt for a cyclone instead of a square of paper to dry their hands. In the great debate between paper and hot air hand dryers, and which one is better for the environment, I prefer swiping my hands on my pants and being done with it.

The Target visit came after a nice dinner at the Olive Garden. We don’t eat out much anymore. It will be even less after I realized last night that eating out is no longer buying dinner for two adults and three children. That can be costly. Now we are feeding three adults and two children. Well, two adults and a teenager who eats enough for two adults, and three children. Yikes! That jump from the kid’s menu to the adult menu is costly, and will only get worse until I qualify for the 55 and over discount.  That won't happen as soon as the Boss would have you believe.

The Olive Garden children’s menu came in a nicely decorated folder that provided a surprising trip down memory lane.

I immediately recognized Ricky Ravioli. He’s the second character on the right on the front of the menu. Ricky was the leader of a Speak Easy jazz band called Ricky Ravioli and the Marinaras. The group played in the red light district of Chicago. They had a robust, spicy sound. Their lead singer was Tonya Tomato. Oh, and what a ripe little tomato she was! Rumor has it that she had a mélange with Bene Breadstick, the band’s drummer, that simmered over a low heat for years. Ollie the Olive was the band’s manager. Nicknamed “the Oil,” Oillie the Olive oiled the gears with the mob that controlled most of the joints where the band played, ensuring everyone received their share of the greens. That's how a band booked gigs back then.  Gina Grape was a restaurant hostess who could be pressed into service as a wine steward if needed. She quit her job and joined the group as a back-up singer and Ricky’s main squeeze. After hours those two could really jam!  I shared this story with the family as we waited for our food.  The band was quite old when I was a child, but I remember hearing stories of their hey day from my grand parents.  It brought a tear to the eye!

It's nice to see a big chain like the Olive Garden celebrating the good ol' days!
 

12 comments:

Kathleen said...

"I prefer swiping my hands on my pants and being done with it." Me too!!

We have graduated from 2 adults and 3 kids' meals (the little one shared) to 2 adults and 4 kids' meals with the oldest kid picking off our plate as well. Soon it will be 3 adults and 3 kids. Pizza is a lot cheaper than Olive Garden.

TobyBo said...

you know, I thought I blogged about those turbo dryers at Target awhile back but I can't find it if I did. The first time I encountered one, I made everyone in the family go back and dry their hands. The skin on your arm ripples like waves on the sea...

Kellie said...

I hate the way those dryers make the skin on my hands swish around...gross. And they make Jack Henry cry.

I hope you and your family had a very merry Christmas!

Twisted said...

hands on the jeans gets a vote here. You reminded me of how close we are to getting the senior discount. Yahoo. Don't bring it up with the Commander - I don't know if he is ready for it, but I'll budget that into the account for next year. Older men, they are awesome.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Because I've witnessed any number of women NOT washing their hands before leaving public restrooms, I much prefer paper towels. At least I have something to put between my hand and the the door handle when exiting.

The_Kid said...

The blow dryers get their input air from the restroom right?

I'd much rather grab a nicve clean sheet of paper or 4.

Amazing how many people would say they think the blow dryer is more sanitary.

Linda said...

I'm with Granny and the Kid. uueww!

Opus #6 said...

Maybe mounting used jet engines is their way of recycling old parts.

CrossView said...

Those high powered ones fascinate me! I get a visual of what my hands are going to look like when I'm in the nursing home. Scary, yet fascinating. I often do the pants wipe - unless there's one of those freaky dryers...

Nikowa Lee said...

OH my side hurts!!! You're so funny!

I know exactly what you mean about the jump to the adult menu....I may have to take out a second mortgage to feed these kids! LOL

tsinclair said...

As long as there is soap, I am happy. :-)

CrossView said...

Here is today's CleanLaugh - "Dryer Message"

As a lobbyist in Washington, DC, I'd just finished up a meeting with a Congressman when I stopped to use the restroom.

After washing my hands, I stepped over to the hand dryer and noticed that someone had taped a note to the machine.

The note said, "Push button for message from Congress."