TREADING WATER

I may be treading on Ernie Witham territory with this column, but if he doesn’t have the guts to tackle this heinous...I mean hydrous subject, someone has to. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time we addressed...bottled water.

I remember when drinking water straight from the faucet was good enough for most folks. To prove that I’m still old school, I drank from our kitchen faucet right before writing this column, and I’m here to tell ya – thank God I was no farther than a few feet from my Sonicare toothbrush and a Budweiser chaser.

There are 9,362,257 brands of bottled water (of course, that’s only a guess) and though they vary greatly in price, they all pretty much come from the same source –inner city warehouse spigots.

To lure the Paris Hilton generation, they’ve given some bottled waters distinct “metro” names – eVAMOR, Manhattan, City Lights and Metromint. I could never drink water called Metromint because that’s what we used to call that blue tablet resting at the bottom of urinals.

Penta alleges to be the ultra premium purified water and claims that the water improves physical performance, increases muscle efficiency and makes you look younger. Penta also promises to dissolve kidney stones and relieve fibromyalgia. I don’t know what fibromyalgia is, so I’m guessing it’s a “female” thing – either that or it’s the stuff that gathers in the corners of a bachelor’s refrigerators.

I like Evian’s approach better. It promises only heightened arrogance.

The market is also flooded with enhanced water that’s supposed to provide valuable enrichments, with names like Defense, Perform, Focus, Revive, Power, Rescue and Energy. The problem is, I need all these things and couldn’t possibly drink that much water unless it came with an ouch-less catheter and a stylish hollow leg.

I did find an enhanced water called Formula 50. I figured it was for people over 50 and I bought a case. When I didn’t feel any better after drinking it, I gave the label a closer look and found out that Formula 50 is named for, and inspired by, the rapper 50 Cent. This explains why I’ve developed a newfound attraction to tacky jewelry, and recently renamed our three cats, MC Purrpetrator, Lizard Soulja, and Gov-ment Cheese.

I think advertising agencies have really missed the boat when naming bottled waters. For example, Poland Springs. Does that sound refreshing or quenching to anyone? Is Poland known for outstanding water? I think of Poland’s water right after I think of its fine cuisine and space program.

There’s another popular bottled water called Ozarka. I picture some guy chewing tobacco and scooping water out of a catfish pond with an empty paint thinner can.

Deer Park doesn’t do it for me either. I’m reminded of the phrase, “Where Bambi goes, nothing grows.”

Smartwater has electrolytes (not to be confused with Kosherwater, which has Israelites). Smartwater isn’t a bad name, but at $6.99 a six pack, isn’t it an oxymoron? Smartwater isn’t the most expensive bottled water. I found one called Serac Glacial Milk. I don’t know what a Serac is (probably another “female” thing), but Glacial Milk sounds delicious. The only problem is, Serac Glacial Milk costs $8 for a 20-ounce bottle. If this is a bit pricey for you, don’t fret. I hear Trader Joe’s will soon come out with glacial milk bottled water akin to Two-Buck-Chuck wine, called True-Value-Moo-Dew.

The very worst name is Zephyrhills. I got a dose of Zephyrhills once in my youth, after a visit to Tijuana, and I sure as heck don’t want to chugalug that. Wait...maybe I’m reading that name wrong.

I’m thinking about starting my own blue collar bottled water company called Alexander Springs. There’ll be three choices – Green Garden Hose, Black Garden Hose, and for those swanky people who like sparkling water, Bathroom Faucet Froth. All will be filtered through panty hose, and purified with a drop of mescal. I won’t reveal how we’ll get the bubbles into our Bathroom Faucet Froth, but I’ll give you two hints – tropical fish and brine shrimp burritos. I’ll claim that Alexander Springs water promotes weight loss, helps people over 50 understand and appreciate rap lyrics, cures all “female” things, and – dare I promise? Yes – temporary relief of both thirst and hiccups.

Until then, I’ll continue drinking Coca-Cola’s Dasani bottled water. I may prefer it because of the exotic name, or maybe it’s the bluish bottle, but I suspect it’s because I own Coca-Cola stock.