To the thirsty: Drink bottled water to avoid spontaneous combustion

August 04, 2002|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight Ridder / Tribune

GATORADE is now making water. I know this because I saw a Gatorade commercial that asks the intriguing question: "What if Gatorade made water?"

(Intriguing answer: Gatorade will charge you a dollar for a small bottle of it.)

The commercial features the usual cast of hyperactive Gatorade people, who have to constantly ingest massive quantities of fluids, or they shrivel up like dead toads on hot asphalt. Gatorade people dehydrate rapidly because they are fanatically dedicated to exercise, and as a result, perspiration-wise, they are human fire hydrants.

Even when they stand still, sweat gushes from their every pore, so that within seconds they're surrounded by an expanding puddle of their own bodily secretions. People are constantly slipping and falling around them, but the Gatorade people don't notice. That's how dedicated they are.

The Gatorade people are similar to the Nike-commercial people, another group of fierce, focused, grunting competitors who give a minimum of 175 percent and would not hesitate to elbow their own grandmother in the teeth if she stood between them and their objective (usually, a ball). The message of these commercials is that Nike people are winners, because they have heart, willpower, and the one "intangible" asset that all true champions possess: severely overpriced sneakers.

Here's an intriguing question: What if a Gatorade man married a Nike woman? That would be a competitive wedding. The happy couple would race each other down the aisle, the bride gaining a momentary advantage by jamming her bridal bouquet into the groom's eye, then the groom countering by stomping on her bridal train, snapping her head back like a Pez dispenser, while the guests cheered and jumped up and down in their sweat puddles. At the reception, everybody would eat a wedding cake made entirely out of Power Bars, and take turns bench-pressing members of the band. Blood would be shed during the limbo competition.

But getting back to my point: Gatorade is now making water. It joins the rapidly growing list of companies, including Coke, Pepsi and (any day now) Yoo-Hoo, getting into the highly profitable, multi-billion-dollar business of making water.

Of course, when I say that these companies "make" water, what I mean is that they "do not make" water. There's no need to actually make water, because there's already water all over the planet -- water in lakes, water in rivers, water falling from the sky, water in your home plumbing system, water escaping from your home plumbing system causing your ceiling to collapse when you're away on vacation, water just everywhere.

What the bottled-water companies do is get some of this water, put it in bottles, give it a brand name, sell it to consumers, then smack themselves in their corporate foreheads and say, "We can't believe we're getting away with this! Do you think they'd buy air? How about dirt?"

Incredible as it may seem, there was a time, years ago, when people right here in America actually drank the water that came out of their taps. Back then, if you had tried to "brand" water and sell it, people would have laughed and squirted you with garden hoses.

Today, of course, thanks to the educational efforts of the bottled-water industry, we consumers are terrified of our tap water, because we know that it contains some of the most deadly substances known to man: chemicals. To cite one example: Bottled-water-industry researchers recently issued an alarming report stating that virtually every sample of tap water they tested contained large quantities of hydrogen, which is a type of atom believed to have caused the Hindenburg dirigible disaster.

"We're not saying that people who drink tap water will explode in massive fireballs," assured the researchers. "We're just saying they should avoid open flames."

This is why millions of consumers now prefer bottled water, which -- we know this, because we have seen it with our own eyes, in commercials -- bubbles up from pristine underground mountain springs, and thus does not contain any impurities, unless of course you count worm droppings.

I mean, let's face it, underground is where worms live, and very few worm species wear diapers. Also, your mountains are frequented by your mountain goats, which drink from the springs, and if you know anything about goats, you know they drool. "He drools like a goat" is a common mountain expression.

But big deal, bottled-water consumers! Ingesting goat saliva and worm poop (which is very low in fat) is a small price to pay for the security of knowing you are drinking water that is backed by the highest scientific quality of marketing campaign, right? So let's raise our glasses of brand-name water in a toast to health and fitness!

OK, you Gatorade people, please put your arms back down.

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