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Laura on Life column: The history of thirst

I am going to tell you about the history of thirst. This is history as I understand it. Anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor is cautioned not to read this column because the obvious inaccuracies would be too much for your staid sensibilities.
In the beginning, there was water. Just plain, pure water from a non-polluted, non-minerally enhanced, non-chlorinated running stream. At some point in time, possibly around 10,000 BC, some hyperactive cave child got bored and decided to squish some grapes into a gooey mess. Then, like children everywhere, he forgot about his experiment for a few seasons.
One day his cave mother saw that cleaning your cave was all the rage among other cave mothers. She recruited her son to help by cleaning his section of the cave. That’s when he came across his grapey mixture. Who knows what a child is thinking when they decide to put something like that into their mouth? But he must’ve tasted it, because where else would wine have come from?
This cave boy probably became a little tipsy and decided to lie down. His mother saw this as a miracle because her child was ADHD. She showed the other cave women what she had and then became the most popular cave woman in 10,000 BC. Her name is lost to history because cave people couldn’t read and write.
Wine became the beverage of choice for a long time. It was used for drinking as well as medicinal purposes. It was the first pain killer, anti-depressant, antiseptic, and first Ritalin. This stuff was great!…Until public school was institutionalized. Algebra became nearly impossible for those under the influence of the funny grape juice.
People discovered that they could flavor water with juices and make a beverage nearly as palatable as wine without the side effects that were now, in light of the new math, undesirable. This fruit juice was especially helpful during Prohibition and the Depression. Without it, the human race might have expired of thirst.
In time, some enterprising mom, who had not gone shopping that week, realized that simply adding sugar to water when there was no fruit around, would work, too. Add a little food coloring and you’ve got Kool-Aid! The kids were again bouncing off the walls but, I believe, quantum physics was also developed during this time period.
After that, some wise cracker put Pop Rocks in someone’s flavored water and soda pop was born…At least, that’s how I think it happened. Soda pop ruled in most civilized countries. Kids loved it. It was something about the challenge of how loud you could burp after drinking soda through a straw that was the big draw.
Then the revolutionary idea of “healthful living” arrived. As moms desperately tried to replace soda with milk, kids became more addicted to Coke-a-Cola. The rumor still exists that there was cocaine in Coke way back when, but I think some governmental body would have had an issue with that.
Meantime, caffeine and carbonation were suspects for health risks. I remember an experiment in grade school where a penny dropped into a cup of Coke “disintegrated” or something. So to satisfy the healthful cravings of mothers as well as kids’ addiction for sweet drinks, beverage manufacturers came up with non-carbonated, diet drinks that were passable in taste and healthier than their sugary counterparts. The question lingered as to whether the ingredients used to make these diet drinks taste good were good for you. Many thought not.
So they took out everything and ended up with plain, pure water, again – except – it was in a bottle. They say that bottled water is much better than tap water. Who are “they”? Mostly, the soda pop manufacturers, who are now our suppliers of water in a bottle. Hmmm, sounds suspicious. That’s like tobacco companies selling air filtration systems because they can’t sell enough cigarettes any more.
Anyway, now we are back to water as our beverage of choice. The difference is that we don’t get it from a clear, running stream. Most of us would be trespassing on someone else’s property if we were to find one of those.
The bottles of water we buy in the store do have at least one benefit over tap water, though. They all come equipped with some pertinent “Nutrition Facts”. For example, judging by all the zeros on the chart, we can draw the conclusion that water apparently has no nutritional value whatsoever. One wonders why we drink it.
You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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