All Bot­tled Up

The Compass - - OPINION -

“Harry, my lol­ly­gag­ging love,” said Dear­est Duck, “hurry up and stow that stuff aboard. There’s a freez­ing gale blow­ing through the car.”

We were on the ever-windy Costco park­ing lot and I was stog­ging half a dozen cases of bot­tled wa­ter into the car’s wide-open hatch­back. Dear­est Duck, as ever, helped from the front seat, call­ing en­cour­ag­ing re­marks, urg­ing me to make haste. “Be­sides,” she said, “aren’t you afraid?” “Afraid, my Duck?” said I. “Yes, you know, about that bot­tled wa­ter.” Con­cerned, I s’pose, about my re­main­ing time on this planet, Dear­est was re­fer­ring to a re­cent news story about the dan­gers of glutch­ing down gal­lons of wa­ter from plas­tic bot­tles.

Truth be told, the news story wasn’t new. Prob’ly some jour­nal­ist suf­fered from writer’s block, or ex­pe­ri­enced a slow week, and de­cided to root at the car­cass of this ol’ dead cause, so to speak, and have a spell fright­en­ing the be­jab­bers out of in­no­cent folks by retelling hor­ror tales about bot­tled wa­ter.

“My Duck,” said I, cram­ming in the last case, clos­ing the hatch­back and tuck­ing my con­sid­er­able manly abs be­neath the steer­ing wheel, “noth­ing walks the earth, or swims in the sea, or squirms around in a bot­tle of wa­ter that scares me.”

“Pfffhut,” said Dear­est Duck, dis­miss­ing my ver­bal chest-thump­ing.

“Any­way,” I said, con­sol­ing Dear­est Duck to lessen her fret­ting about her honey’s health. “I bought the flavoured wa­ter. The as­par­tame, or what­ever, will kill any harm­ful tox­ins con- tained within.” “Drive,” said Dear­est Duck. I drove. A kilo­me­ter or so west of But­ter­pot Park, Dear­est Duck dug her iPad out of the glove­box and com­menced to play Candy Crush.

Be­ing more in­tro­spec­tive, I com­menced to cog­i­tate … about bot­tled wa­ter con­cerns.

Of course, the more bot­tled wa­ter con­sumers … well, con­sume, the more plas­tic bot­tles are dis­carded, some of which — con­sid­er­ing not ev­ery­one lugs emp­ties to a re­cy­cling de­pot to reap the grand mon­e­tary re­wards of con­sci­en­tious cit­i­zens — end up in land­fills, there to loll about for a mil­lion years slowly rot­ting.

I haven’t counted, but I think more jour­nal­ists are tick­led pink­ish when they doom-say about the vil­lain­ous mi­cro­scopic wig­glers dis­solved in bot­tled wa­ter than when they pro­duce ban­ners scrib­bled with dire prophe­cies re­gard­ing the world end­ing in a smother of plas­tic.

“Yes!” said Dear­est Duck in the split-sec­ond shadow of the Sal­monier Line over­pass.

“You agree with me?” I asked, fool­ishly be­liev­ing she could read my mind.

“What? No. I com­pleted a Candy Crush level.” Silly me. I turned in­ward again. One of the scary things alarmists claim can be found in bot­tled wa­ter is mold. Mold? A lit­tle bit of mold never hurt a soul. Ask Granny. Sure, more than once when I was a fam­ished lit­tle bay-boy, Granny fetched a bot­tle of home­made patch-a-berry jam from the shelf be­neath her stairs, re­moved the wax-pa­per cover, scraped off the pro­tec­tive scab of mold, stirred the con­tents then slathered a spoon­ful on my slice of but­tered bread. Does it ap­pear mold ever did me any harm? Rhetor­i­cal ques­tion. Ap­par­ently there might be mi­crobes — what­ever they are — in bot­tled wa­ter.

Dear­est Duck would smack me for be­ing cav­a­lier if I said, “What you can’t see, can’t hurt you.” So I won’t say it. Oh, and maybe traces of ar­senic. Ar­senic won’t kill you quick. Napoleon’s demise. Tri­halomethane. That’s a scary sound­ing one. But break it down. Heave out the first part of the word and

Con­sider size up its rear-end — meth­ane.

Meth­ane is noth­ing more than a fa­mil­iar odor­if­er­ous gas that of­ten erupts loudly from in­testi­nal tracts. Not so scary, eh b’ys? This one is scary: ph­tha­lates. Ph­tha­lates are es­ters [!], chem­i­cals that when added to …well, plas­tic for the most part…makes it soft. Con­sump­tion of those buggers could… Smack! “Harry, don’t go there.” See, Dear­est can read my mind. Se­ri­ously though… Some places, ci­ties like San Fran­cis most re­cently, are grab­bing bot­tled wa­ter by the ph­tha­lates and bar­ring them at the door.

No way will the pres­ence of bot­tled wa­ter be sanc­tioned inside mu­nic­i­pal pal­ings. Un­less… …un­less it’s be­ing sold at ma­jor sport­ing events such as marathons, for ex­am­ple. Or at the air­port.

I’d sug­gest there might be some hypocrisy built into this ban but Dear­est Duck is glow­er­ing at me, re­mind­ing me to mind out for moose, I s’pose, or as if she’s lost her life in Candy Crush. Thank you for read­ing. — Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­

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THE MORE YOU KNOW — Holy Redeemer in­ter­me­di­ate stu­dents re­ceived a run­down on com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy late last month. Cst. John Clarke with the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion RCMP led the dis­cus­sion with stu­dents at the Spa­niard’s Bay school on Sept. 24. The in­for­ma­tive pre­sen­ta­tion focues on bul­ly­ing and cy­ber bul­ly­ing, a pair of hot but­ton top­ics in to­day’s school en­vi­ron­ment. Clarke spoke on what con­sti­tiutes bul­ly­ing, cy­ber bul­ly­ing and the ac­cept­able use of com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy.

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DON’T MIND THE RAIN — Sept. 14 may not have seen much sun­shine, but the en­er­getic crowd that showed up to the Terry Fox Run in Har­bour Grace didn’t seem to mind. More than three dozen peo­ple of all ages gath­ered at St. Fran­cis Field in Har­bour Grace to be­gin their trek around the track. Two Terry’s Team mem­bers took part this year, Kayla Bad­cock and Dave Bishop. Both of them have bat­tled can­cer. Last year, the Con­cep­tion Bay North event was fifth over­all in fundrais­ing among all New­found­land com­mu­ni­ties to take part. This year, the tally isn’t yet in. But the group raised a com­bined to­tal of some $4,200, with the help of a cou­ple of used book sales and in­di­vid­ual fundrais­ing.

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