Best of the Net 2008  

To A Motion Activated Paper Towel Dispenser

Once upon a time we touched things.
We touched each other, we touched
ourselves. The world had
doorknobs. You could grab a hold of the world
and walk right through it. There were
handles, beautiful handles, and we
couldn't stop pulling them.
Hand washing hadn't caught on yet
so people caught colds from each other and worse,
much worse. Most people couldn't
even spell prophylaxis, much less
practice it. But there was such a thing as
olfactory intelligence. People loved smells
more than books. An armpit
was a library or a temple. You could
worship and study there. And you could
sniff your own fingers to get
word from your lover
more eloquent than a hundred love letters.
But today it's no longer possible
to just open a window and make love to the world.
Today you can' t even
touch yourself and feel good about it anymore.
And the children's drawings
are full of emaciated stick figures
with lumpy limp smiles
and stumpy arms whose hands can't reach
below the equator.

-Paul Hostovsky (Thick with Conviction)