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I’ve been hearing so much about the congressional testimony of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law school student who went before congress to solicit the help of the American people in financially supporting her recreational pursuits, that I had a dream that I had actually been called to testify before a congressional committee:
Chairman: Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and the USDA approved truth, so help you Obama?
Me: You bet your franking privilege it is.
Chairman: Please proceed
Me: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of whatever committee this is, ladies and gentlemen of the press, friends, Romans, countrymen and assorted varmints, I’m not here to represent myself. I’m here on behalf of thousands of truckers who can’t speak for themselves because they couldn’t get through security. These are people who daily suffer an injustice that affects their health as well as the health of the people around them, or at least those down wind of them. I see it in the truckers’ faces, which haven’t seen the business end of a razor or a bar of soap since the Obamas’ last trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I see it in the faces of the people in proximity to these overly ripe professional drivers, …people whose eyes roll upward as they pass out, ladies whose perms flatten as they wait in line to pay for their gas and twinkies. I see it in the flowers and plants that flop over as these aromatically challenged coffee chugging road warriors walk by.
You see, the average cost of a truck stop shower has gone from $5 in 2004, to a whopping $12 in 2012. It now cost more for the driver to perform personal hygiene than it does to eat dinner, assuming he’s a bad tipper. Now, let’s assume that the average driver takes five days off per month and therefore has no need of truck stop facilities on those days. That leaves 305 days of the year during which, if our driver aspires to bathe at least once per day, that he will avail himself of the sumptuous luxury of a moldy truck stop shower. At a cost of 12 bucks per wash, his hygienic standards will cost him $3,660 per year! If he is paid at an average rate of 38 cents per mile (as a company driver), he will need to drive 9,631 miles per year (or three trips between Portland, Maine and Los Angeles, California) just so he can afford to keep from knocking people out. Since most drivers average around 10,000 miles per month, that means almost an entire month is spent paying for the cost of showers. And the injustice doesn’t end there, oh pampered people of the pastel puff.
What if our driver decides that some days he’d rather eat than bathe? What if he comes up short at the end of the week and can’t afford a shower? Just last week, a driver told me he had to stop bathing because he just couldn’t fit it into his budget anymore. Of course he didn’t have to tell me. Someone opened the door behind him and the wind swooshed by him and over me. But it’s okay. They tell me my eyebrows will grow back pretty quick. And pray tell how in the name of Old Spice is a driver supposed to avail himself of all the free contraception out there if the object of his affection won’t get within three time zones of him?
Some might respond that showers are available in other ways. That’s just not true. Have you ever tried to stand outside in a rainstorm with a wash rag in one hand and a squeeze bottle of Axel in the other, looking like a speed limit sign with no numbers, without getting thrown in the hoosegow? Ever tried to use a hubcap as a mirror? And while it is true that most truck stops offer free showers if you buy 50 gallons of fuel, most of the time you have to fuel and keep driving until the end of the day, so your shower goes the way of Dodo.
No sir, this is a health issue just as plain as the poor law school student who needs the help of the collective to fund her extracurricular activities, because if the truth be known, it’s the trucker that is getting screwed here. He won’t recoup his costs after he passes the bar exam. Hell, they won’t even let him anywhere near a bar! That’s where you, as the people’s master…I mean representatives, come in. What we need, good sirs and ma’ams, are free showers. If the taxpayers don’t like the way we smell, then they can pay a little extra to clean us up like proper civilized folk. Call it an odoriferous incentive. Call it the Stinky Toll. Call it the Pepe Le Pew Burnt Nose Hair Act, I don’t care. Just free us of the inordinate burden of having to actually balance our needs and wants against our available resources in an adult fashion. After all, you freed yourselves of any such requirement long ago.