Opinion: Water on the brain

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Have you ever listened to a TED talk, with informational short speeches on fascinating topics like “Why do we have hair in random places?” and “Have we been tying our shoelaces the wrong way?” I watch these videos while I’m on my treadmill. The average episode is about nine minutes long. If I run at my full speed, I can get in about six of them during a mile-long jog. I often have to listen to them twice. It’s tough being both a slow runner and a slow learner.

I tuned into one that really made me happy. It was a presentation by a doctor who claimed that the only reason to drink water is if you are thirsty, that the “eight glasses a day” dictum is pure fallacy. She called it “hydration pseudoscience.”

I was wrong about Twinkies. Apparently, they can cause weight gain. I was off base about gambling. You do lose money in the long run. But I was sure right about water: I’ve always thought drinking eight glasses a day was silly and that everybody who believed in this would someday have to admit they spent a lot of unnecessary time in the bathroom.

People walk around with a water bottle in their hand. They keep a water bottle in their car’s cup holder, totally unaware that the hole was specifically designed for 48 oz. Slushies.

A physician on the news the other night admitted there has never been a scientific study to support this notion about water. Scientists have no idea where the recommended minimum of eight glasses a day came from (probably the same place my parents got the idea I couldn’t go swimming until waiting 40 minutes after I ate a Twinkie).

When I heard this H2O revelation, I almost spilled my cup of coffee, which I am pleased to say is 99 percent water. But the bottled water lobbyists made sure tea and coffee — and beer — couldn’t be part of our required amount. “It has to be pure water,” they said, “or it doesn’t count.”  Do I get no credit for drinking lemonade? How about partial credit?

My grandmother lived to 96. She hated plain water. She drank Scotch and water every day, but she only drank it when she was thirsty. I know for sure she got in her eight glasses by bedtime.

A final note: The other day I lugged hundreds of bottles of water (a buck for a case of 12) home from the dollar store. I just can’t pass up a good deal.  “It would be wise to drink several bottles a day,” I told my wife.

“Wait, I thought you didn’t believe drinking that much was necessary?”

“I don’t, but all the water expires the end of July.”


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