Drowning in Advice: From verse to worse

Here’s one way to advertise your virtue even as you overpay for your designer H2O. (Image via Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, August 24, 2015 – In his justifiably famous poem, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge is renowned for writing the following eminently quotable lines:

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

His protagonist, of course, was stuck out in the middle of the ocean, where a cup or two of the salty sea would surely do you in, but pronto.

In our own day, summertime still brings us an endless parade of dire warnings about our water intake from more modern, supposedly more reliable sources, such as this screed from NPR:

“Most American children and teenagers aren’t drinking enough fluids, and that’s leaving them mildly dehydrated, according to a new study. In fact, one-quarter of a broad cross-section of children ages 6 to 19 apparently don’t drink any water as part of their fluid intake.”

As soon as I heard the above, I rushed into the kitchen to chug-a-lug a liter or two of tap water while memories of all those vintage movies where a plane crashes in the desert and the survivors have to trek for days without a drop of H2O unspooled in my head. I sashayed away from the faucet, sloshing like a water balloon.

But then the New York Times kindly set me straight, as it always does:

“Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits.”

Stunned, I wondered, am I dupe for falling for this whole “8 glasses of water a day” thing?

According to KSL Radio, not only am I dupe but I may actually be damaging my health!

“Researchers out of Harvard revealed it may be best to forget everything we’ve always known about proper hydration, according to a new report in the Harvard Health Letter. In fact, the commonly accepted guideline was never based on scientific evidence and may actually be harmful to some, according to the study.”

I may as well go back to my old bad habit of snacking on salted peanuts and sunflower seeds all day, all the better to spit the shells at those hydro-quacks who nearly drowned me with their watered-down advice.

All of which inspired me to come up with the following reflection:

I’ve lugged around a water bottle since I was a teen.
Authorities assured me it was better than caffeine.
The battle cry “Keep Hydrated” is screamed by quack and nerd,
yet now I’ve learned that all this foofaraw is quite absurd.
I get enough hydration from the foods that I ingest,
so quarts of extra water give my bladder little rest.
You frauds can stick your water bottles where the sun don’t shine.
And while you’re at it, you can also do the same with mine!

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