Lewis Black does a very convincing routine on the farce of bottled water. Funny stuff, but I have to admit I’ve become an addict. I know: Who ever thought we’d actually pay cash-money to substitute drinking water out of a plastic bottle when it’s always been waiting right there at the tap? Non-addicts think the whole concept is ridiculous in the extreme. And more, at a recent taste test at the L. A. County Fair, good old city water was consumer-judged to be the best.

I was not, however, one of the contestants.

You know how it goes. People now even go so far as to insist on particular brands of bottled water, still with never a thought of going to the kitchen sink, and it’s hard to figure out how it all got started, any more than countless other crazes. Who was the first guy to try out a hula hoop? Who thought you could make a hamburger out of produce? And here I am, a one-time country kid who used to drink directly from a faucet, even one that emerged from the back porch. For me it was altogether natural, and in a sense, completely social. You play sandlot football in an adjoining property and it was easy to grab a quick slug of water from the handiest source, which was that outside tap. No problem.

Tell you what that community water was like. In the late spring, the village supply came from a reservoir, which was fed by local streams, which in turn was fed by rivulets that seeped from freshly fertilized pasture-land. That meant that the water — which we drank from said faucet — carried a light brown tinge. We drank it and we liked it. Oh mama! I cannot recall ever being cautioned to move over to bottled water (that was for emergency use only). Shoot, we even bathed in the stuff; doubtless we decided it (the water) would clear by mid-summer.

(Several months ago, my doctor talked about developing nasty bacterial stomach disorders from well water that one might contract from a misspent youth. To date, I haven’t noticed anything.)

Recalling that childhood experience, that one-time means of hydration, with the onset of the recent fad, I jumped onto the bandwagon (you might simplify that to just “wagon”). So now just think about it: You’re in a not-so-classy restaurant and you get the tab. One of the items is a glass of water with a charge of $2.85. You’d go nuts and demand to see the manager, post-haste. On the other hand, you request a bottle of water and you grudgingly accept an $8.00 fee. Ah, but it’s a name brand, one that you recognize. Never mind that the restauranteur could have just as easily filled said bottle with city water. It’s that assumption of value, of public conditioning. You drink it and you pay for it.

The times we live in. And there’s so much more, as you know.

With bottled water, I’m a recent convert, not to say sucker. A bottle of Fiji goes right on the bedstand.

So to finally prove the point, here’s what Kris did…She filled up three glasses, two from tap water from the kitchen sink, and one from a new Fiji bottle — without informing me of the scheme — and then asked me to do a taste test. You will not be surprised to learn that I considered the tap water the best.

But like a true addict, I continue to imbibe the bottled stuff. There’s really no hope.

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