Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I remember what it was like to be a kid running around on the playground at school. It's the middle of the school day and it's time for recess. Monkey bars. Jungle gyms. Swing sets. Balance beams. Even those wicked awesome fireman's poles.

And then there's the return to the indoors. I remember waiting in line to get a drink at the water fountain. The wait was always excruciating. Looking back, I realize that running around outside for 20 minutes was not going to cause me to drop dead of dehydration. But that line never seemed to end. Unless I was lucky enough to be in front.

But when was I ever that lucky? So I stood behind several kids who had the pleasure of enjoying a drink of water before I could. And each of them seemed to take an eternity with their sips.

Working at an elementary school, I've noticed that some teachers like to impose a "count to 5" kind of rule for each kid at the water fountain. That sort of clear-headed thinking would have been nice when I was in 3rd grade.

Finally, my turn would arrive. I approached the fountain and pushed the button. The water sprang forth and I finally had my taste. And somehow, it was the best tasting liquid on the planet. Nothing could have tasted cleaner or fresher than that water at that moment.

But now I know better. I know that the water that comes out of that spout is nothing more than mere tap water. Sure it's attached to a machine that has a cooler inside that kicks on every now and then to keep the water cold. But it's still unfiltered tap water.

In a world filled with bottled water and pitchers with built in filters, tap water seems entirely unacceptable. Also, as an adult, I look at those school based water fountains and can't help wondering, "How many mouths and/or tongues have been on that very spot where the water comes from?" And then I shudder.

Okay, really I try not to think about that kind of thing. I've never considered myself a germophobe. So that kind of thing doesn't typically bother me. And when my bottle of water is empty halfway through the day, I've got to fill it up somewhere. And for some reason, I feel better about filling it up at the fountain than I do in the bathroom sink.

But come on, have you smelled that bathroom? It's really, really foul in there.

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