HA!  I’m right again!

From our good friends at CBS.com:

(CBS/AP) Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a woman believed to have been killed by drinking too much water in a radio station contest…[Jennifer] Strange participated in the contest during the morning in the studio and was found dead that afternoon. The county coroner said preliminary autopsy findings indicate she died of water intoxication[Emphasis mine]

There goes another New Year's resolution.

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions to begin with.  In the first place, I have yet to make one that I have not broken within about a nanosecond of making it.  In the second place, and more importantly, I just think New Year’s resolutions are incredibly unoriginal.  Everyone makes ‘em.  Everyone breaks ‘em.  Usually the same ones every year – lose weight, exercise more, find a new job, dump your loser boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. etc. etc.   An entire industry has sprung up just to support our bound-to-fail New Year’s resolutions – all you need do is switch on your TV every January for the virtual parade of usual suspects:  Jenny Craig, Bally Total Fitness,  CareerBuilder, and that creepy yellowtoothed matchmaker guy from eHarmony.com.

As a result of all this pomp and overhype, I gave up on New Year’s resolutions about ten years ago.  You might say I made a resolution to not make any more resolutions (then again, you might not).  I don’t like following the pack – any pack; I’m not fond of failure, and I hate being unoriginal.  But this year, what with my first book coming out, my new career as a pundit, and an entire world of possibilities sparkling before me, I decided to give the old resolution wheel one more spin.  And this year’s,  I figured, was a no-brainer:

Drink water.

No, not drink *more* water.  Just drink water, period.

If only I didn’t hate the stuff so much.

There.  I’ve said it. I hate water.  With all the wonderful, delicious beverages available in the world, why in God’s name would someone want to waste her thirst on water?  It has no taste!  It has no smell!  It has no caffeine!  It has no alcohol content!  It has absolutely nothing to recommend it.

In fact, I’d drink just about anything other than water.  Diet Coke, for example (although, I have to confess that I’ve recently become much more partial to Diet Dr. Pepper….go figure).  Apple martinis.  Tequila.  Fruit juice (R.W. Knudsen’s “Just Tart Cherry” or “Just Pomegranate” come to mind).  Maybe – maybe, but only in a pinch – flavored seltzer.  But plain old water?  Blech.  I don’t even drink it after I work out.  I just grab myself a Diet Coke on the way out of my expensive health club and I’m good to go.

Oh, don’t look at me like that, you!

I know I’m supposed to drink it. It’s not like I haven’t tried, over the years, to develop an affinity for the odorless, colorless glassful of "blah" that too many regard as the Fluid of Life.  I’ve bought the giant refrigerator-size gallons of Poland Spring, and they have sat there so long they have literally evaporated on the shelf.  I’ve bought the designer bottles – the fancy blue ones, the jazzy red ones, the artsy-looking square ones – and ended up boiling their contents for my morning coffee just to get them out of the way.  I’ve bought the water that promises to make me smarter, the water that swears it will improve my memory, the water that insists it will leave me more athletic and energetic.  It all tastes the same, and none of it works.

As far as I am concerned, water – in any of its permutations – is good for two things and two things only:  1)  extra hydration during the consumption of alcoholic beverages in order to stave off a hangover; and 2) washing down aspirin the next day when said extra hydration effort fails.

So I don’t like the taste – or lack thereof.  I also don’t like having to run to the bathroom every five minutes unless it’s to fix my hair.  But I think the real reason I don’t like water is the same reason I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t want to be a lemming.  And I sure as hell don’t want to be a Water Person.

The Water People tell me I must love water.  Every book, every magazine, every website, my doctor, and even my friends and family wax poetic about the benefits of water.  It’s healthy!  It keeps you hydrated!  It makes your skin look nice! It’s good for your hair!  It improves your metabolism and you lose lots of weight!  Some claim it even makes you smarter.  I get it. 

And the Water People are everywhere.  I see them wherever I go -  lugging around their huge, industrial-sized bottles of Desani, or their opaque plastic sports bottles filled with God knows what (usually carried around by people who wouldn’t know a Stairmaster from a clothes dryer if their life depended on it).  You can’t escape them.  And there’s the real problem.  Lately, it seems that the Water People have outpaced the noisy cell phone users as the offenders of choice in the arena of  public etiquette.

Ever had a conversation with a Water Person?  It’s an exercise in futility. You’ll be in the midst of your most important point, and then it happens – the hand drifts toward the bottle, the nod becomes more vacant as she slowly unscrews the cap, and the face glazes over as she takes a long, deep swig, never losing eye contact but never quite hearing what you’re saying either.  Thus derailed, the discussion trails off, never to be resumed again.

Just try to attend a business meeting these days without at least a dozen people sloshing in late carting their overflowing glasses and chirping, “Sorry – had to get some water!”  as if those precious ten minutes of your time were utterly insignificant in the face of their neverending quest for the perfect bubbler.  And it's not just co-workers.  Consultants and salespeople launch every visit by whipping well-worn, lipstick-stained Evian bottles out of their tote bags and planting them noisily on the mahogany conference table, coaster-free, oblivious to the rings they will leave behind. 

And then there are the travelers.  Dear lord, the travelers.

The FAA’s liquid ban has caused a virtual meltdown among those so addled by their overhydrated righteousness they consider themselves exempt from even the most basic security restrictions.  They are so addicted to their beverage of choice that a simple walk through a metal detector is unthinkable without liquid sustenance to make the experience bearable.  Instead, they argue.  They wheedle.  They make everyone else stand there and wait as they plead their case.  “It’s only water!”  screech the consideration-challenged offenders. “I have to have my water!  I need my water!  I can’t liiiive without my water!”

Reminding them there is plenty of water on the other side of the metal detector is futile.  The very prospect of more than ten minutes elapsing between swigs overwhelms them with terror, so they force us all to wait even longer as they frantically chug the contents of their bottles rather than simply toss it into the bin with all the discarded shampoo and lipgloss.

I’m tempted to simply declare war on the Water People by writing a series of long, scathing essays about the ostentatious overconsumption of H20 in contemporary society, but it saddens me to realize that if I were to do so I’d end up alienating the majority of my friends – not to mention family members who have succumbed to the cult.  So, instead, I propose an uneasy truce.  I’ll keep my feelings to myself, provided you stop trying to recruit me.  Don’t give me fancy water bottles as Christmas gifts.  Don’t come to my home and expect to be served anything other than the finest in lukewarm tap water.  And do not, under any circumstances, nag me about my own drinking habits while glowering at me over the lip of your oversized jug of Perrier. 

Because, as the saying goes, no matter how hard you try to lead this gal to water, you can’t make me drink.

...But Not a Drop to Drink