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Tapping into water in fashionable ways

Call me a curmudgeon, as some of my friends do, and I'll plead guilty. Whether based on fact or just strong personal opinion, I take a stand on many subjects. So it's time to mount a soapbox and expound on one of my favorite topics, bottled water.

In the not-too-distant past, I thought that people walking around with a bottle of water were just demonstrating an affectation, which I hoped would not last long. How wrong my thoughts, and hopes, were. Looks like it is here to stay; it has become de rigueur.

Of course the water can rarely be the plain, generic, supermarket store brand; it has to be premium priced "designer" stuff. People have become as fashion conscious with their water as with their clothes. Not to mention the various "fortified" waters being hyped by manufacturers.

How, and why, has it all happened? Part of the answer is that so many people believe that you shouldn't drink tap water. It's not safe, you will probably become ill. Nonsense. Testing of bottled water, if it is done at all, is often not up to municipal water standards, and not all bottled water comes from springs or "clear pristine" lakes, either; some is just from taps.

Further, some people say tap water tastes a little "funny." If that's a problem, just use one of the numerous filter devices available. Unfortunately, I think this perceived need for bottled water has reached many families that can ill afford to purchase it, but feel that they have to.

I'm not suggesting there's no need to replenish our bodies with water. Of course there is, since the average person is about 60 percent water. My concern is the way we are going about it. Why the need to have water constantly by our side? Have we become a nation with a never-ending thirst? Where did eight glasses a day come from?

This arbitrary number is supposedly required to maintain a healthy body. Coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, wine, fruit juice, beer, etc. are mostly water. A large variety of fruits and vegetables consist of more than 80 percent water. As marvelous as the human body is, I doubt very much if it thinks "Oh, this is not water, it's water and coffee beans, or water and red pulp, or water and whatever."

Bottled water appears everywhere and, unfortunately, has become the norm. People go for short walks with their ever-faithful bottle of water lest they pass out from lack of "hydration." This, by the way, is a frequently used buzz word very much in vogue these days.

I have coached high school sports for several years, and find that many athletes will not drink tap water. "That's for washing cars" they say. This unfounded logic probably comes from their parents who no doubt believe it. Not only will this thinking not go away, it will be passed on.

Not mentioned above is the environmental impact of this ridiculous use of bottled water. Petroleum and coal are required to produce and recycle the bottles, if indeed they are recycled at all. Go to any athletic facility, business establishment or school, and I venture to say that you will see garbage containers filled with empty bottles. We all certainly have seen how bottles litter our outdoors.

If a person feels such a strong need for a constant water companion, I'll suggest the obvious. Use a refillable bottle. Wow, what a novel idea; with a little luck it may even catch on.

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