One of the Tank's acquaintances - let's call him Tim - is a man well used to after dinner speaking and often begins an address with the following gem: "Well, this is the second time today I've risen from a warm seat with a piece of paper in my hands."
Understandably, it tends to bring the house down, while the Tank can, at best, expect accusations of plagiarism for nervously stuttering, "Ladies and gentlemen, if I could just say a few words ... I'd be a better public speaker!" Boom boom.
Anyway, we were reminded of Tim when we read of the toilet paper crisis currently enveloping Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey. Shocked by a frankly mind-boggling $4,000 paper cup bill put forward by mayor Tony Mack, city apparatchiks have refused to agree a paper supply contract, plunging employees towards what could become the world's first dirty protest by default.
One council member told Bloomberg News that "we're not going to send out any blank cheques", heartlessly cutting off another recourse for desperate staff members in urgent need of any potential loo roll replacement.
While the stand off continues, a British company is wading into the mire to address the equally important paper towel issue. Napoleon noted an army marches on its stomach, but it has taken Dyson, purveyors of fancy vacuum cleaners, fans, and - yes - energy efficient hand driers, to realise bureaucrats can only get on with their day job of blocking perfectly reasonable planning applications, wasting public funds, and clocking off early on a Friday if they have dry hands.
The Wiltshire company has donated 15 of its Airblade hand dryers to the City, claiming they could help save the city nearly $45,000 on paper towels annually, while also cutting carbon emissions. In fact, MIT research last year found the Airblade to be the most environmentally friendly method of drying hands (apart from shaking them then wiping them on your trousers, obviously - Ed).
Still, that may not be much consolation to the good people working for the city of Trenton whose reputation, and probably several other parts of their person, will no doubt be sullied by the whole sorry affair.
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