Left Out to Dry

Students at Xavier High School, plagued by wet hands and broken promises, demand reform.


By Tim Brough, Editor

It’s a predicament that I, and most Xavier students, face on nearly a daily basis. After answering nature’s call, you take one last look at your schedule, conveniently placed in front the urinal, you wash your hands, and you turn around to dry them. It is then that you realize, with a slowly mounting horror, the magnitude of your situation.

You need to dry your hands and you can’t because our hand dryers are just terrible. You expect, no, you demand(!) the ability to dry your well-washed hands, and in most of our bathrooms you can’t. The only one that barely passes as effective is the one in the bathroom of the 200’s, which can dry mildly damp hands in 31.46 seconds (thanks go to Noah Kagel ’17 for helping me with my measurements and calculations). The worst is the one by Mr. Jaskot’s office. Of this “dryer”, Mr. St. George once said something that I cannot repeat because it was “off the record”, as those journalistic types say.  It’s a problem that has become endemic at our high school, with 60% of students saying they do not wash their hands out of fear that they will never, ever get them dry again, and the other 40% saying that they don’t dry their hands because it takes too long.

Various sources throughout the school have confirmed the futility of our school’s hand-drying systems: a source that, for reasons unknown, wishes to remain anonymous says, “They’re useless! I just wipe my hands on other kid’s backpacks in the hallway.” Mr. A. King says “Yea they’re awful but, Brough why are you writing an article about hand dryers? Write something real.”, and Mr. Flowers says “In the winter, they warm not only my hands, but also the gentle slopes of my musical soul. In the summer, they remind me of my youthful home.”

At this point (I’ve found), that you have two choices (besides wiping your hands on other student’s property): you can either submit yourself to the torture that is a Xavier hand dryer, or you can wipe your hands on your pants. I guess you could just go without drying your hands, and while the author has no moral scruple with this course of action, it seems that most people do (does that make me strange?), and the number of high-fives and weird handshakes that go on in a Xavier hallway make this route social self-destruction. So, with the third option eliminated, we can focus on the problems of the first two.

Let’s start with the simplest: if you wipe your wet hands on your pants (presumably some variant of khakis), you have peed yourself. Don’t tell me you didn’t pee your pants, you did, and no matter what Billy Madison tells you, all the cool kids don’t pee their pants.  It’s not that I don’t believe that you haven’t peed your pants, it’s that you have just returned to class from the bathroom with soaking pants. As someone who has been in this situation no less than three times over four years I can tell you, it is infuriating. The moral of the story is this: do not wipe your hands on those khaki’s.

Your only option then, is to try and figure out how to dry your hands, using only a machine supposedly built expressly for the purpose of drying hands. Maybe when our hand dryers were built truth in advertising wasn’t such a big deal. Xavier uses the “Bobrick B-740” a machine that just sounds horribly ineffective (imagine how lame a person named Bobrick would be), and works, by my calculations, a mere 30% of the time, every time. When they have wet toilet paper stuffed into their sensors they work even less. The dryer runs on a 12V motor, and will run for 90 seconds if left to its own devices. It operates with an energy consumption at which Xavier could probably pay an old man, with weak, old lungs, minimum wage to just blow on student’s hands, for about the same effect.

I propose two solutions: we can just use paper, or we can replace all the hand-dryers in the school. With a hand-dryer in every bathroom, and with five bathrooms in the school, we should talk about paper first so that any administrator’s that may be reading don’t faint before the end of this article.

There was actually one day, earlier this year, or maybe last year, when we did have some paper towels. The entire roll lasted maybe half a day. I’m not saying that a paper towel isn’t exciting, or that when you see paper towels in that dispenser you don’t reserve the right to go nuts, but paper towels are expensive. If the paper towels lasted more than 3 periods, or if the collective Xavier student body didn’t decide to redecorate the bathrooms with a “wet paper” theme, then maybe the administration would be more inclined to refill the dispenser, which they haven’t done since you savages finished a roll in like 45 minutes.

We could also just replace our hand-dryers. The high-roller would settle for nothing less than the Dyson Airblade AB04. A true marvel of modern engineering, the AB04 is in a league of its own, and it has an undeniably awesome name (imagine how cool someone named “Airblade” would be). It draws in 9.25 gallons of air per second through a HEPA filter, and then uses that air to dry a grown man’s hands underwater in 12 seconds, according to legend. Quite frankly if I had $1200 I would do the responsible thing and buy myself an Dyson Airblade AB04 hand dryer for personal use (unfortunately I don’t have any money, just ask Steve Bruno, or the dining hall staff). I also think that if Xavier had $6000 they would do the responsible thing and buy 5 of these bad boys. But these pretentious, futuristic, and dangerous-looking hand dryers are preposterously expensive, and probably controlled by Skynet.

I suggest the XLERATOR Hand Dryer. At $400 a pop they are a third of the price of the Dyson, and that’s not all: it uses 80% less energy than conventional dryers, it saves 95% vs. paper towels, it dries hands in 15 seconds, it’s got an o.k. name, and it pays for itself in less than a year. Five of these machines would cost us $2000, and it would save us from both wet hands and frustrated kestrel writers who write about hand dryers.

While $2000 is about $4000 dollars less than $6000 (by my careful calculations), this is still a pretty large sum of money. I’m open to suggestions on how we could pay for this, so e-mail me at [email protected] if you have any suggestions.