GateHouse – So you know how some days you’re just going about your business, walking down the street, hands in your pocket, whistling a merry showtune, on your way to the soda fountain with your fedora bopping about artfully, when something just comes along and suddenly, immediately, changes everything you know about everything? This is how I felt when my dad first told me that professional wrestling wasn’t real (the resultant few hours involved an embarrassing amount of sobbing), and it’s how I felt when I read this weekend that the claim that people need to drink eight glasses of water a day is a lie, a monstrous, hideous lie.
How have I come by this revelation? I have verified this with snopes.com, one of the Web’s leading debunkers of urban mythology and a fantastically economical way to kill six consecutive hours of work time, assuming no one is looking and it’s the Friday after the Fourth of July. Among the other urban legends floating around regarding water are the following:
– 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
– Lack of water is the No. 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
– Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80 percent of sufferers. It would, however, increase the possibility of injuring one’s spine getting up 12 times an hour to go to the bathroom.
The faulty stats go on to argue, faultily, that “a mere 2 percent drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.” So, to sum up, we have all been told for years that failure to drink the appropriate amount of water will more or less kill us in our sleep, and our children, too, and it will light our house on fire and poison our seafood and cause an increase in the likelihood we’ll be hunted by sharks, bison and pterodactyls, possibly all at once and through an Afghan minefield. Point is, drink the water. (All of which seemed very hard to me, keeping track of all of this water intake. Can’t someone just invent a pill for it or something?)
And yet, it’s lies, all of it. An L.A. Times article reported: “Most nutritionists have no idea where it comes from. ‘I can’t even tell you that,’ says Barbara Rolis, a nutrition researcher on Pennsylvania State University, ‘and I’ve written a book on water.'”
Which begs several questions, the first of which is: Did you know people wrote books about water? Weird. But it begs other ones, too, like: Why would they do this? Who would lie about water? Listen, I can understand lying about oil, or paternity, or outing a CIA agent because her husband proved your war was a fake. But who stands to gain from lying about water consumption? Is there a Big Water lobby that sprung up in the past few years I’m unaware of? Damn you, Dick Cheney. Always got your pincers in everything, don’t you?
Anyway, the best general advice, according to this Web site which has no medical credentials whatsoever, seems to be: rely on common sense, and if you feel thirsty, drink, and I am getting the sense that if we could somehow remove from the record all articles that end with the phrase “rely on common sense,” there would have been about three magazines printed since the year 1849.
But my faith is shaken now, my faith in the medical industry, which would apparently stoop so low as to bear false witness about water to an unsuspecting public, which until now had no choice but to believe them and spend nearly all of their waking hours peeing.
Wait – that’s it! Maybe the health industry isn’t behind this at all – maybe it’s a nefarious plumbing consortium, Big Toilet if you will, who are making mints off of our repeated over-watered trips to the restroom two or three or 24 times an hour. Maybe there’s some sort of shady backroom cabal of sweaty, overweight executive types, lighting cigars with rolled-up $100 bills because they get a cut every time a toilet is flushed, every time the pipes run anew with fresh, fresh water. Yes! That has to be the answer! Of course, I can’t prove any of this. But there’s an easy way to verify: just see if municipal water plants have received any recent calls from Cheney.