I’ve posted before about my dad’s kookie way of seeing the world. Frankly, he’s lived through many strange, bizarre and unnerving years as he has. If you’d survived that too, then I wouldn’t fault you if you came out on the other side with some unique interpretations of the universe.
That’s not to say that I agree with him. In truth, my father and I disagree on many more things than we agree on. The jury is still out on his sanity, and I’ll relent that mine is questionable at times as well. We’ve gone through some difficult times together, but in the end, I love him and only want him to be happy, safe and comfortably well off.
I often sigh loudly when I see his name on my caller ID, not knowing what the conversation will be like this time. Some days, he’s chatty, just having finished his most recent conspiracy theory book or revelation and he wants to share his interpretation on the subject. Most of the time, I just nod along while he reiterates what sound like absolutely implausible ideas, like he and I are descended not from man, or apes, but of aliens, or that there’s a conspiracy for people to buy bottled water.
The latter was the most recent share that he had a few weeks back. Like all the others, it came completely unsolicited and without warning, and had all the characteristic fervor of someone in a sandwich board with John 3:16 painted on the front, shouting that the end is near. Some things I could abide, but a bottled water conspiracy seemed nonsensical and bizarre, which for him, was a feat.
First he went after the big conglomerates, the big guys who were simply bottling glorified tap water and making huge profit. I think pretty much everyone knows that bottled water does have a huge markup, but we pay it out of convenience, and because we’re trying not to have another sugary beverage in our already calorie heavy day. I drink a lot of bottled water, and prefer it to soda most of the time. This, of course, makes me a sucker.
Then he went on to call out the smaller but no less evil purveyors of bottled water. These companies are even more evil. They are unlike the bigger competitors who simply filter water, add some minerals and then mark up 500% or whatever the amount is. Their crimes are far worse, as they simply buy up a town near a spring, and use the name to sell essentially bottled tap water.
In the town where I grew up, our rural home had a dug well with water that was downright delicious. (Well, as delicious as water could be.) I enjoyed drinking it very much, as it had no chlorine or iron or anything off tasting about it. Down the hill from our home was a natural spring, free to anyone who wished to fill up their cup, bottle or canteen. When I started college, I got my first real taste of what filtered, chlorinated city water tasted like. It was gross.
Since then, I’ve yet to live in a town where the tap water was anything worth drinking on it’s own, although I do from time to time out of laziness or desperation. The tap water we have here should really be put through a filter in order to make it more palatable, but even then, there’s something not quite right about it.
I agree with my dad on that front, that bottled water is dumb, because we should all be given access to clean, drinkable water that doesn’t taste disgusting. However, because there is no enforcement nor standard for keeping drinking water “yummy,” the water companies do only the bare minimum of filtration. This produces a nearly laughable product, and for someone in my father’s generation, seems as laughable as the concept of a monogamous couple using condoms or hiring a pet sitter.
Now, in order to deal with the conspiracy, dad recommends we do what we can to avoid it at all costs. Dad thinks he’s somehow skirting the issue by only using filtered water in a canteen. What’s missing from the process, in my humble Generation X opinion, is accountability to keep drinking water clean in the first place.
I think it’s more important to crack down on water pollution and to have more enforcement for a better drinking water standard. Of course, that would mean more regulation. I’m sure that it’s way down on the priority list, as things like police, firefighters, and healthcare take precedence.
Besides, there’s a profit to be made here. Pepsi and Coke are just pleased as punch to provide you with their reverse-osmosis style water at $2.00 a bottle. And the smaller, but no less evil counterparts are just as happy to bottle the small town’s tap water with a fluffy name for the same. Even the canteen and filter producing companies make a huge profit. Considering how many people I see consuming bottled water, I doubt the market is going anywhere. So, in a way, dad’s right. I suppose a broken clock is right even twice a day.