Lately, the public has been starting to question my effectiveness as a restroom air freshener. Last night, for example, a man with "Denise 4 Ever" tattooed on his upper arm and (apparently) a serious gastro-intestinal disorder beat on my plastic casing and cursed at my inability to make the restroom here at Sally's I-40 Super Gas 'n' More smell like freshly laundered linens. I would like to address a few points:

1. I am not responsible for the replacement of, nor the quality of, my scent pouches. If I could replace my scent pouches, I wouldn't be an air-freshener, would I? No, I'd be Carlos the janitor or Paula the gift shop clerk, both of whom are supposed to check my scent level on a weekly basis. You would sooner expect your car to change its own oil. I do one thing -- freshen the air. Give me the tools to do that.

2. The American diet is changing, severely testing my outdated air-freshening technology. Since I was installed in 1986, fast-food consumption in this country has increased 10-fold, especially among the truck-stop restroom frequenting demographic. There are consequences from this, from an epidemic of adult-onset diabetes to, yes, an increased strain on the entire truckstop restroom infrastructure.

3. Fresh air is a team effort. I am fighting an insurgency here, if you will, and like our beleagured troops in Iraq, I need help. When Paula and Carlos check off the hourly "restroom cleaning checklist" on the door without actually running a mop across this filthy floor, they are leaving me to fight this war alone. I don't care what Rumsfeld says; troop strength does matter.

4. Lastly, I turn the hot glare of the spotlight onto to you, the public. Standards in this country have declined tragically over the past century, from our schools to our elected officials to our expectations of restroom cleanliness. There was a time not so long ago when a feces-stained mirror would have had you people demanding to speak to the truckstop manager. Now, you simply shrug it off, or, worse, have simply abandoned the notion of using a truckstop restroom altogether. Like the American inner-city of the 1960s, you have written off my colleagues -- the sink, the toilet, the condom machine and the towel dispenser -- and me. Shame. Shame.

But even if I did have fingers to point, I would not be pointing them right now. We don't play the "blame game" here at Sally's I-40 Super Gas 'n' More (except for you, Paula and Carlos; I do blame you a little bit). I just want you to understand that even the best maintained air freshener in the cleanest truckstop restroom can only do so much when a 300-pound trucker who consumes nothing but hot wings, Funyuns and coffee comes in and unpacks his suitcases, if you know what I mean. This is a war without end. I do not take nights, weekends and holidays off. You may have given up, but I have not. I think it was the philosopher Epictetus who said "The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it." I'm sure he probably wasn't talking about truckstop restroom air fresheners, but does that matter? Do not scorn me, but do not pity me, either. I come to you seeking only one thing -- understanding. If you cannot give me that, then our society has problems far worse than I, a truckstop restroom air freshener, ever imagined.