“A colorless, transparent, odorless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain of our planet and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.”
That’s the basic dictionary definition.
But here’s how I see it. This noun bothers me. I’ve never been an enthusiastic fan of water. I don’t care for drinking it, and I certainly don’t like when people offer it to me when I haven’t even asked for it. It’s like someone asking me out of the blue if I’d like to swallow a spoonful of peat moss or manure or dead leaves. Honestly, I’m not offended by many things, but I think I find this water thing offensive. My wife says I’m just being close-minded and stubborn, but am I? Did Congress pass a law that says I have to like water? Scientists say seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, and I guess I’d respond by saying if we didn’t have bad luck, I guess we wouldn’t have any luck at all. They also say that over sixty percent of our human bodies are made of water, but I’ve noticed that people, as a general rule of thumb, are also full of crap. You won’t hear anyone bragging about the crap or posting the news on a Wikipedia page. In fact, most scientists ignore this fact completely. I can think of a lot of other liquids I’d rather be made of besides water. For example, I wouldn’t mind being made of Coca Cola, or freshly brewed coffee, or pure Dos Equis cerveza, poured right out of the glass bottle and past my fat lips and down into my parched esophagus. Dos Equis is really the best thirst quencher you can get for the money, isn’t it? It has water beat by miles. It makes American brews like Budweiser and Coors taste like diluted donkey piss. Not a big fan of popular American beer. But back to the definition of water. They say two hydrogens and one oxygen make up the water molecule, right? Or is it the other way around? I can never remember if it’s one oxygen and two hydrogens, or one hydrogen and two oxygens. I guess chemistry never was my cup of tea. There was only one class I hated more than chemistry, and that was Trigonometry. But I’d rather sit through a one-hour Chemistry or Trigonometry class than swallow a glass of water. God how I loathe the stuff! It’s slippery, wet, lackluster, colorless, hopeless, boring as all get-out, and tragically devoid of character. The very closest thing I can compare it to is an insurance salesman who won’t stop calling you and asking that you to listen to his sales pitch for buying a fifth life insurance policy (in addition to the four policies you already bought from him). Everywhere I go these days, people are offering me a bottle of water. These little life insurance policies are now a twenty-first century social custom, a lot like how people used to wash a guest’s feet. Didn’t we used to wash each other’s feet? I remember reading about it when I was in college. They said, “Sit down good friend, and let me wash your feet.” Now they ask, “Would you like me to get you a bottled water while you’re waiting,” or, “Would you like a bottled water for the drive home,” or, “Hi, my name is Bob, and I’ll be your server tonight. So, what kind of water can I get you for your dinner?” No, fuck you, I don’t want any of your disgusting water. Jeez, don’t these idiots have any clue as to what’s going on in the world? Don’t they read the newspaper or watch the TV news or surf the Internet? I’ll throw a couple facts at you. One, did you know that Americans buy 29 billion bottles of water a year? And two, did you know that it takes nearly two thousand times the energy to manufacture a bottle of water than it does to provide an equal amount at your tap. It’s ridiculous! Take five minutes and talk to any gregarious, unbathed Greenpeace fanatic the next time you’re held up and accosted for donations, and in just a few seconds, you’ll get more frightening facts and figures about the earth and its water than you’ll ever know what to do with. They all say water is a problem. I say no, that water is a disaster. So, what is this strange obsession we have with drinking it from bottles? I’d like to know. If I did know, I would tell you. We demand water until we’re needlessly sopping wet inside and out. I’m talking about all kinds of water, not just the stuff that comes in bottles. Of course, there are all the bottles. But there’s water served from restaurant pitchers. And there’s lukewarm water, and there’s cold water with ice cubes. There’s piping hot water to make a pot of your favorite tea. There are showers, bath tubs, sinks, garden hoses, toilet bowls, fire hydrants, and swimming pools. Don’t forget the swimming pools! Fun, fun, fun, all filled to the top of their copings with their chlorinated and heated piss-and-saliva water, and there are also all those seas and oceans full of salty fish-shit and sewage poisoned sea water. I’m from California where you pay through the nose just to see the ocean, believe it or not. People actually pay extra amounts of hard-earned money (or borrow more money from the bank) just to look at it from their homes. Add a view of the Pacific Ocean to your list of selling points and you can literally jack up the sales price by hundreds of thousands, just like that. A glimpse of the good old ocean is all it takes. A peek from any window, or a glance from a viewpoint on a deck. If you can see the water anywhere from your property – and I mean anywhere – you’ll have your buyers climbing all over each other with cash in hand. You have a real feather in your cap! You have yourself a true real estate amenity! It’s a good thing that all the discarded water bottles the Greenpeace nuts are complaining about are floating somewhere else, in someone else’s ocean view. Where are they anyway? Off the coast of Brazil? I hear people in South America don’t give a shit. I guess they’re realists. When I was a kid, we used to visit the beach and swim in the Pacific Ocean, and we had the time of our lives. It seemed like so much fun back then, but I didn’t know any better. I was young and dumb. Kids are idiots, aren’t they? I didn’t understand that the ocean was one big green sunbaked cesspool filled with rotting dead fish and sea life excrement and human garbage and off shore oil leaks and seagull droppings and slimy seaweed and God knows what else. I had a friend in high school who was a chronic surfer, and he said ocean water kept his long hair clean, that he never had to shower or use any shampoo. Jesus, now the idea of that makes me want to gag. I can’t even imagine it. Oceans? Seas? Lakes? Ponds? You can have all of them. And how about all that pure spring water? It’s all bubbling and trickling from mother nature, liquid diamonds and rubies. When I lived in Boulder, Colorado, my buddies and I used to drive to the Coors factory in Golden where they served free beer to all who took the tour of their plant. Back then they said (and maybe they still do) that their beer was, “Brewed with Rocky Mountain Spring water.” Jeez, were those visits to the factory ever an eye-opener. I saw where the spring water entered the factory. Did it really come from a spring? I had no idea. I mean, what the heck even was a spring? What I saw was a deep man-made concrete gully filled with a brownish-green diarrhea colored slow-moving stream of gunk. Cigarette butts and empty Styrofoam cups were floating in it, and there were probably no fish. Fish didn’t stand a chance. At least I didn’t see any fish. And I was impressed, for somehow the Coors chemists had figured out a way to turn his rancid slop into sparkling, golden, and refreshing gallons of perfect thirst-quenching American beer. I was impressed, but I have to tell you that I was wary from that day forward of any corporation that advertised any of its products coming from pure spring water. Can you blame me? Do you want to find a spring that would truly impress me? Find me a spring of ice-cold Coca Cola, or clear and sugary 7up, or sparkling Dr. Pepper, or refreshing Canada Dry. Now that’s something I could sink my teeth into. Gene Kelly singing in the rain? No, not for me. Not unless it was raining soda pop, or beer, or chardonnay, Riesling, or pinot blanc. I just don’t understand what people see in water. I don’t understand why they’re smiling like Gene Kelly. And I don’t get why they’re dancing. When God decided to wipe his misbehaving children from the face of the earth, what did he do? Did he create a plague? Did he start a horrible world war? Did he hit us with a planet-wide earthquake? Or did he erupt a giant volcano? Or hundreds of them? No, no, no, instead he made it rain water for forty days and forty nights. Water was his weapon of choice. Pure and untainted water from the sky. It became the ultimate enemy of every human, excepting Noah and his family. And if God doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing, then who does? Meanwhile we frolic and play in this poison, splashing each other with it, diving into it, and taking swimming lessons so that we won’t drown. It’s funny, isn’t it? Isn’t swimming just a skill we learn to keep from drowning? That doesn’t sound like much fun to me, jumping into a deadly body of water and trying to keep from drowning. Do you want to know what I think? I think we’re all still a little waterlogged from the days we crawled out of the sea, when our fishy gills swelled into lungs and our slippery fins morphed into arms and legs. We all agree that water is an integral part of life. But I say, so is excrement. And so is killing. And so is stealing from your neighbor. And so is hating them. And so is war. When I dine at restaurants, I ask the waiter to please remove my water glass from the table. No, I don’t want it filled, and I don’t even want to look at it. I have a better idea. If you’re waiting on me at a restaurant and really have some excess water. I mean, if you’re looking for something to do with that water, pour it into a coffee maker, grind some fresh beans, and brew me a cup of coffee. No, I don’t need sugar, or sweetener, but a little cream would be nice. And then take a load off. Sit down with me at the table while I enjoy my hot cup of Joe, and tell me which noun in the dictionary bothers you.