[A repeat post from January, 2012. My blog met an untimely end in January 2016, and I plan to repopulate with some of the old entries over time]
Anyone else ever deal with big bottled water? No, not the pints and quarts and liters of non-returnable plastic whose very existence we would have scoffed at if someone suggested forty years ago that buying water the same way we buy soft drinks would ever be commercially feasible, much less wildly popular. No, I’m talking about replacing tap water in your home or office with those five gallon behemoths, hauled in from the car or truck or wherever you haul them in from. We started drinking water this way about the time our middlest girl (Ruthie) was born, being not at all pleased with certain, ah, “peculiarities” in the odor of Decatur tap water. And much too aware of the incredible profusion of toxins that had been dumped upstream in the Tennessee River over the decades. It seemed (and still seems) a completely warranted substitution, given the importance of our precious bodily fluids. (No, Jack, I’ve never seen a Russkie drink tap water. Only vodka, Jack.)
But this missive is not about the quality of water or its fluoridation or lack of. In fact it’s not about water at all, other than as a mass reference point. A gallon of water is the mass equivalent of 3.8 Kg, or 8.3 pounds. So five gallons of water weighs 41.5 pounds. If you go to Lowe’s you can buy either the 5 gallon bottle, or the 3 gallon version. Three gallons weighs in at 24.9 pounds. If you’re ever there, try picking up a 5 gallon bottle and a 3 gallon bottle, one in each hand. They make it easy to grab, the bottles have handles built right in. Now stand there a moment, one bottle in each hand: A total of 66.4 pounds. Try walking down the aisle, maybe saunter over to the Tools area or take a look at plumbing fixtures, 66.4 pounds of excess poundage swinging along with you.
Here’s a point of reference: That’s how much I am carrying around as excess poundage in my body, every day, every minute, 24/7. Roughly 65 pounds above the tiptop limit of someone my height and age. If you actually do this experiment, you’ll be astounded that I am even able to walk from the den into the dining room on a regular basis. Though it’s pretty obvious that I must have indeed walked to the dining room. Often. And spent far too much time in there.
If you don’t want to experiment with water bottles, next time you’re in the grocery store, try picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food and walk down the aisle (walking down the aisle seems to be somehow critical to this experiment). If you really want equivalence, get a helpful passerby to throw another 10 pound bag and a 5 pound bag on top of the 50. Hell, get a whole bunch of people to try the experiment, make it a party! Marching up and down the aisles, chanting the Song of the Volga Boatmen. You’ll probably be doing a public service by making all those people aware of this mass equivalency, because chances are many of your fellow shoppers are also lugging 50 extra pounds or so of excess mass. It’s a national epidemic, you know. We’re pretty much all in the same Volga (or Tennessee) boat, which is struggling pretty hard to stay afloat, as you can well imagine.
Twenty-three years ago (or, as I like to measure things, about 60 pounds ago), I played the Scarecrow in the Giles Heritage Theatre production of “Wizard of Oz”. I sang and danced around the stage, falling on the floor and leaping back up as the Scarecrow is wont to do. If I attempted that today, I’d likely do damage to the stage, much less the terminal damage to my body. Oh, how I’d love to be able to prance around like that again! Alas, I fear that is not to happen. But I do have a goal. No, not to reprise my Scarecrow role (though I will always remember it fondly). Rather, to diligently remove the 8 gallons of hydro-mass equivalency from my body. Not so I can dance, necessarily. I’m just tired of carrying this extra stuff around. To quote the Grateful Dead (from “New Speedway Boogie”): “If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load/ I don’t know whose back’s that strong/ Maybe find out before too long.”
Maybe I will. But I’d rather lose the load, thank you very much.
© 2012 Chuck Puckett