Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Water? It'll never sell."

That is a quote attributed to the Late Great W.C. Fields. For those of you who don't know him, he was the star of a bunch of movies and short films in the '20's. Mr. Fields typically played a child hating, hapless and harried drunk that sported permanent gin blossoms. In all the movies I remember him in he played a guy in either the medical or service industries. I'm not sure in which film Mr. Fields said the line, "Water? It will never sell." I only know the quote because it was written on one in a set of coasters my parents used to have behind the wet bar. Others read "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night! -Bette Davis" and "Why don't cha come up and see me some time! -Mae West," stuff like that. I think there was a Bogart in there too...

Mr. Fields' line about water always puzzled me though, after all, water has always sold pretty well I think. Maybe in the '20's people weren't making a lot of money on it, but for most of my life I can recall water being sold in one form or another.

Knowing that he typically played a drunk but NOT knowing the origin of the line, I came up with a scene of my own:

W.C. Fields enters his favorite watering hole. He won't be there long, as he is the town dentist/barber/cabbie/pediatrician/appliance store clerk and only has a few minutes till he needs to be back at work dealing with sticky fingered children and indecisive housewives. It's been a long morning and he needs a stiff drink. He spots an open stool at the bar and shoves another guy out of the way to get to it first. Sitting down he notices a sign, placed on the shelf in front of a row of brown bottles. It reads, "Water: 1¢." We cut to a shot of W.C. Fields across the bar from the sign's point of view. He looks confused. He can't understand for the life of him why anyone would want water when there is all this delicious liquor to drink and so he mumbles to himself and a little to the guy next to him, "Water? It'll never sell."

Of course he was as wrong about that as he was for not taking the role of the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz (reportedly because the thought the role was too small).

So with all that exposition out of the way, I quit drinking soda on Monday. I'm not entirely sure why. Sometimes I just like to quit something to prove I can... this time though I think I quit because Diet Coke had almost entirely replaced water in my body, and that just can't be healthy. So I cold turkey'd diet soda and replaced it with water. Which brings us back to W.C. Fields because every time I hit the Dasani button on the Coke Machine at work Mr. Fields words come ringing back to me. "Water? It'll never sell."

Water is not satisfying or even pleasant to me. It's bland and flat and boring and tasteless. Replacing my bubbly, caffeinated bottle of Diet Coke (or Diet Pepsi or Diet Dr. Pepper, depending on which one has the best sweepstakes running at the time) feels like penance. I'm punishing myself. Mostly for my weight I think... every time I see that pic of me in my profile I cringe (which is why it is staying). Dropping diet soda isn't going to help me slim down, but I'll look less ridiculous as the heavy guy with a bottle of water than I will as the fatty with the bottle of Diet Coke, "Who's HE tryin' to kid!?"

Maybe I am watching too much Intervention on A&E but I think I have actually had some withdrawal symptoms after pushing the soda aside. Headache, back ache, extreme sleepiness and some irritability. On the flip side, I'm sleeping like a ROCK! So much so that it is hard to get up in the morning. I'm also saving a ton of money. There are no free refills on Diet Coke, but once I buy that first Dasani I can refill that puppy at any water fountain!

I still drink tea (green tea with splenda and milk right now), milk with my cheerios (my new addiction) and I'm not opposed to coffee, though I haven't had any since the soda ban. Oh, and not to worry, I have a few cans of the bubbly brown elixer in my fridge just in case I start to get the DT's. I'll keep ya posted.


Anonymous said...

I also like Field's other quotes involving H2O:

"I never drink water. I'm afraid it will become habit-forming."

"I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it."

"I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes."

"You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it"

My adventures said...

there was a sign at the bourbon pub in new orleans years ago that said "don't drink water, fish fuck in it!"... it's been hard for me to drink ever since... lol... i switched to coke zero but only one a day...