I’m kind of in a rambling mood tonight, thinking random thoughts. Such as…
I handed a friend of mine a bottle of water the other day. “Ah, bottled water,” he said with a smile. “The biggest scam next to carbon credits!”
“That’s got to be a pretty big scam, then,” I said, “compared to carbon credits.”
“Yeah,” he said, “we should go into business selling ‘food credits’ using the same principle. We’d make a killing.”
“Sure,” I replied, “especially at this time of the year with the holidays coming on. Here’s how we’d pitch it: ‘Feeling bad because you know you’re going to overeat this Christmas? No problem! We’ve got thousands of people lined up in the third world who have agreed to fast while you pig out! Buy your food credits now in plenty of time for the holidays! They also make great stocking stuffers!’
“In fact,” I said, “we could call the holiday version of food credits ‘Stocking Stuffers’ and package them in a festive box. Then we could get some guy who has a 2500 square foot walk-in freezer to be our spokesperson. We’d make a fortune and have a shot and picking up a prestigious award!”
We went on to talk about other things, but my thoughts later returned to bottled water, a product I use on nearly a daily basis. Most days I bring a bottle from home to drink with my lunch, mainly because the bottles of pop I used to drink have started to be too sweet-tasting to me. I got in the habit of buying a bottle of Aquafina from the company cafeteria instead of Coke or Pepsi, picking up a packet of lemon juice from the condiment stand on the way out, and mixing that into the bottle. Then one day — file this under Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm” — I noticed that a 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina retails for $1.35 in our cafeteria. While it’s cool and clear, there’s not a lot of value added there to the basic ingredients. Meanwhile, the bottle of pop right next to it featuring water, syrup, sugar, that satisfying fizz and millions of dollars worth of brand-building advertising, goes for just $1.25.
Since then we’ve bought more generic waters from Cub or Sam’s Club in bulk (about .40/bottle) and I pack one of those (and still snatch the pack of lemon juice).
I know, America is supposed to have the safest drinking water in the world, and buying bottled water is supposed to be bad for the environment, but I’m hooked. For one thing, the water from the taps or drinking fountain where I work has a hideous, metallic taste to it. Secondly, it’s so darn convenient. It’s easy to pack a bottle or three along on car trips or to outdoor activities. Besides, you never know when drought is going to break out.
I’m not snobbish about it. For example, I never cared for Perrier, and the carbonated or “sparkling” waters don’t quench my thirst as well. Funky store brand water is generally fine, though I appreciate the consistent quality of Aquafina and I like to mix things up with an Aquafina Flavorsplash from time to time (grape – yum!) One brand I cannot abide, however, is Dasani, which tastes as if it was harvested from a puddle on an asphalt driveway after an August storm. I don’t know what you can do to mess up the taste of water, but Dasani did it. I mean, it’s probably not as bad as the water my wife drank while on our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, but it tastes like it could be (and I saw what happened to her).
Overall, staying hydrated is a good thing. I remember football practices when I was a kid where the coaches wouldn’t let us drink because we had to “toughen up”. Things have changed a lot. I also used to be a cola-fiend, probably as a result of my deprived childhood. There were three of us kids, and soda pop was an uncommon treat (even though my Dad’s business had vending machines and he could get the pop wholesale). My parents used to make the three of us share a 12 oz. can. I felt so grown-up when I started working and could drop my quarter in the machine and get a whole, blessed can all to myself! Later, the cans changed to 16 oz, and then 20 oz. bottles — bring it on! And then —Sweet Juices on the Half-Shell — 2-liter bottles! Oh, my, those single days when I could keep a 2-liter bottle in the refrigerator, reach in, twist the cap off and drink right out of the bottle before putting it back! Hah!
Sometimes, even now, when we have a 2-liter bottle in the fridge, I reach in, pull it out, twist annnnd … look wistfully at the bottle before reaching for a glass (that sound you might have just heard was Tiger Lilly throwing up a little in her mouth at the picture that came into her head). For some reason, the Mall Diva never cared for pop, even though she’s part of a generation that practically grew up with a Nuk stretched over a bottle of Mountain Dew. Myself, I used to get some real cola-cravings, but even those have diminished as the taste generally seems too hard and bubbly to me now.
Oh well, I’ve rambled enough, but I think it’s only fitting to cement the ear-worm into your head that’s probably been running through the back of your mind since you read the headline.