Thursday, March 7, 2013
Where have all the Towels Gone?
As a life-long vegetarian (except on Purim) hailing from the majestic Rocky Mountains, I am, by nature, a man of nature. Heck, my tweeter photograph (follow me at dannywolfe1) is of me sniffing a blossoming yellow dandelion in the Holiest of all lands. My idea of a good time, is to frolic and prance in a Peruvian Meadow, or a Kazakstani rain forest in the midst of the summer. As such a man of nature, I am all for the international trend of going Green. It is a good idea. Natural is better.
But Henry, I ask you, AT WHAT COST?!?! You see, dear Henry, I recently moved to cloudy Albany, the capital of this lovely little state of ours. I spend my days sitting in the wonderful campus center, and I love every part of my day: Sitting at the tables, speaking with the most inspirational students, occasionally watching Stephen A Smith go at it with Skip Bayless on ESPN, and eating a bagel from Dreidels. I even recently discovered an amazing store called Outakes, where they sell me hot cups of water for my Super Duper, life changing fast lane tea for 25 cents, and they even sell odwalla energy bars for 99 cents. There is one, or two parts of my day, however, that I absolutely dread. Heck, I dread it more than a Panda Bear Cub dreads coming out of the Arctic Sea on a wintry Alaskan morning. What is it, exactly, oh Henry, that I dread? Henry, I dread going to the bathroom. Why, you might ask? Because there is a widely accepted American custom to wash ones hands after going potty. And for some reason, Henry, unbeknownst to me, the sinks do not provide one with the option of controlling the water temperature. Thus, the water comes out scorching hot--hotter even, than a mid-summers hike in Ein Gedi. Hotter than the Chicago Blackhawks, and even hotter than burning hot. Henry, if these sinks had what we would call "knobs" then I would go ahead and turn on the colder side so as not to burn my precious little hands.
BUT, Henry, and this is the big but-- these sinks have no such knobs. And what is worse, is that after one burns one's hands, one lacks the theoretical option of drying them, with an old fashion device called "paper towels." There are no paper towels in Albany, Henry. Rather, all there is is an automatic dryer which promises that "Your hands will be dry in 12 seconds or less." I wish this was true. It is not. It is a filthy lie. My hands don't get dry in 12 seconds. Perhaps if I left them in for thirty seconds. However, if I had this handy dandy little tool called "paper towels" I would have dry hands in three seconds or less. Thus, every time I go to the bathroom, I cringe at the thought of burning my hands, and then being unable to properly dry them, after they have been thoroughly scorched.
The Talmud teaches us, "Who is rich? The one who is happy with what he has." Judaism teaches that the key to happiness is to appreciate what we do have. Many times in life we don't appreciate what we have, until it is gone. After all, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. I never cherish my nose, for example, until its so stuffed up with mucous (Perhaps too graphic of a description) that I cannot fully appreciate the taste of my wife's deliciously delicious food she has cooked, especially for me. Have you ever realized how valuable our nose is, for the culinary enjoyment of eating? We never appreciate the state of not having a headache, until we have a horrific pounding migraine, and we would do ANYTHING to have our heads return to feeing normal. Do we only call out to G-d when we are in most dire need, or do we stop, and thank G-d even when the going is good? Judaism teaches that the first thing we do every morning when we wake up is thank G-d for returning our souls to us. When we pray, three times a day, every day, we thank G-d for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. I never realized how special paper towels were, until they disappeared from my life in Albany. I took them for granted. Now that they are gone, I long for them. When I am in my own home, not in the UAlbany bathrooms, I take ENORMOUS pleasure in turning on the cold water knob, and then proceeding to dry my hands with a good old fashion paper towel. I have learned to be more appreciative if mundane, precious gifts G-d has given us.
Life is like a paper towel in Albany. Precious. We sure as heck better cherish it while we have it.