Hasta la vista, baby. The Xlerator is here

Years ago, days after I wrote about the amazing (and disgusting) foot-pedal-powered toilet seat lifter, a curious reader stopped me on Church Street and said, “That might have been the most revolting product I’ve ever read about in a newspaper. Where can I buy one?”
When I described my foibles finding the septic tank in my back yard, a neighbor commiserated with me, “The world is full of you-know-what. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find?”
And a few months ago when I penned a column about how the ancient Mesopotamians probably did not make their bricks out of dog poop, though my daughter might have, a schoolteacher said, “You would do very well with my first-graders. You really understand potty humor.”
Well, I am about to try to elevate my game a bit, and move from the toilet to the sink. Actually, I am moving beyond the sink. I am stretching all the way to the electric hand dryer.
I have a new favorite toy in the public restroom. Wait, that sounds creepy even by my admittedly very low standards.
Let me try that again: I have a new favorite (ITAL)product(END ITAL) in the public restroom: It’s the Xlerator Hand Dryer. The moniker alone should guarantee the device admission into the Toilet World Name Hall of Fame.
The Xlerator is an electric hand dryer so powerful that if you unhooked the unit from the wall, the air stream would send the machine into orbit. I am exaggerating, but not by as much as you think. We’re talking a motor that is jet engine powerful. It is actually capable of drying your hands after you wash them, which sounds like a pretty basic product attribute in the electric hand dryer category, but we all know that most hand dryers work about as well as submerging your fingers in Lake Champlain.
When the restroom lacks a paper towel dispenser, most of the time I end up drying my hands on toilet paper, my socks, or — if I am in a shopping mall — paper napkins I purloin from the nearby food court. If you are half as germophobic as I am, each of these options rings serious alarms on the Personal Disgust-O-Meter.
Best of all, you don’t have to touch the Xlerator. Frankly, if I can get in and out of a public bathroom without touching anything other than soap and water, I am one very happy camper. In my humble opinion, the Xlerator is therefore a breakthrough product.
Bill Gagnon, the marketing manager at Excel Dryer Inc., manufacturer of the Xlerator, remembers when the company was testing the device in focus groups. “People would try it, and you could see the pure shock on their faces at the force of the dryer. They’d jump back and use expletives — but in a good way,” Gagnon recalls.
The Xlerator boasts a redesigned 20,000 RPM vacuum motor. I don’t know a whole lot (well, anything) about vacuums and RPMs, but 20,000 sounds to me like a mighty big number: I’d wager any vacuum with a motor that powerful is capable of vacuuming up small children. The dryer is, in fact, used at bathrooms in Disney World, and while the Magic Kingdom has no plans to use the Xlerator to send a princess into orbit anytime soon, Gagnon says kids love it.
And why not? It dries hands completely — and completely is the key word — in 10 to 15 seconds. Most electric hand dryers work on the geologic clock.
It is also more energy-efficient than its competitors and paper towels. It’s a lean, green hand-drying machine.
And, of course, there is that name: A name worthy of a comic book champion or a science fiction superhero, a character played someday in a film by Angelina Jolie or George Clooney or — one always can dream — William Shatner. After all, this a dryer that really does go where no dryer has gone before.
(This column originally appeared in the Burlington Free Press on June 4, 2006.)

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of nineteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Sleepwalker. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind.