Carrying Water

Merriam-Webster defines water as “The clear liquid that has no color, taste or smell that falls from clouds as rain that forms streams, lakes and seas, and that is used for drinking, washing, etc.”

In college, our dorm defined it as “A substance found in beer.”
Water is a pretty big deal, it seems—whether expectorated, perspired, peed or cried out.
And we gotta have it. Often.
After all, some people have been known to survive two weeks or more without food. For example, I can go a very long time without kale, lutefisk or pig’s feet.

Perhaps only a handful of men can last three weeks without a TV remote—except during the Seahawks season when some have perished in the middle of long commercial breaks.

But next to air—which all but pearl divers, cattle auctioneers and infomercial spokespeople need frequently—most people can’t go much beyond 3 or 4 days without guzzling some H2O.

Of course, we all know people who can go well beyond that distance without using water —much less soap—on their exteriors. In fact, one fellow of my acquaintance can—and does—go weeks without passing within ten feet of a bathtub. As a result—when he is caught in the rain—he makes his own gravy.

70% of our planet is covered in water—and of that, less than one percent of all of it is fresh. In fact, we ourselves are 60% water—with the rest of our body consisting largely of fat, muscle, bone and opinion.

It could be argued that the overwhelming majority of each day’s news has something to do with water—and our relationship with it. Whether it’s lead in city or school drinking water; the price of a barrel of oil; an outbreak of swimmer’s itch down at the lake—or how much LeBron James sweated during the NBA finals.

And get this: bottled water consumption has grown 120% in the last fifteen years. That means it is about to surpass soda pop, juice and booze as the drink of choice. Personally, I much prefer the price of tap water to the stuff in the plastic containers—but the use of bottled water already exceeds that from the spigot in this country. In fact the stuff is so popular that perhaps Biblical scholars would argue that—this time—Jesus would be asked to change wine into water.

Even the big beverage companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are putting lots of their chips on bottled water. Aquafina is a Pepsi product—and Coke owns Dasani. They also have a product called Smartwater. I’ve tried it. I still can’t understand this presidential season.

Let’s face it, in a blind taste test, could anyone tell the difference between one bottled water and another? Isn’t it just water?

“Oh, I definitely prefer this one! It tastes far more…uh…water-like than the others.”
It’s hard to imagine customers being particularly loyal to one brand of water over another—but clever marketers might make you think one is better than the other. You can buy whichever you like, of course—but don’t get soaked.

I just remembered a joke my dad used to tell. It goes something like this:
A young guy is visiting his great uncle who lives in a remote cabin far out in the woods.
By the time he arrives at the old man’s primitive dwelling, the young man is famished.
“Would you like some stew?” asks the great uncle. “I just cooked some up on my wood-burning stove.”
The young man replies eagerly, “I sure would! I’m starving!”

So the great uncle grabs a ladle and starts to spoon some stew onto a plate—but the young man stops him. “Wait a minute,” he says. “How clean is that plate?”
The old man is a bit taken aback and says, “Well, young city slicker, I may not have all the fancy electrical gadgets and automatic dishwashers that you’re used to. But this plate is just as clean as cold water can get it.”

The young man apologizes saying, “Sorry. I was just wondering.” He then proceeds to hungrily devour two helpings of the stew.

Then the old man offers him some homemade pie on a smaller plate.
The youngster says, “Gee, thanks. But is this a clean plate?”

The old man is annoyed once again, and says, “Again, Mr. Finicky—it’s just as clean as cold water can get it.” The kid replies, “I didn’t mean to insult you, Uncle. And yes, I’d love some pie.”

Just as the youngster is taking his last mouthful, the old man’s German shepherd wanders into the room and starts jumping up on the table begging for table scraps. The old man shouts at the dog:

“Coldwater! Go lie down!”

You can use that joke at work tomorrow.

Maybe at the water cooler.