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DRINKING WATER
by Wendy Vapors, 12/1/00

(theme - "Button Up Your Overcoat" up, under and out)

Dc: It's "One for your Health"... a medical moment with Wendy Vapors.

(sfx: office)

Wendy: It has long been said that we should drink eight glasses of water every day... for our skin, for our weight, for general good health.

But now, some experts are saying that the eight glasses rule might be an exaggeration! Or wrong, even!

I'm here with Jody Neptune, director of the Better Beverage Institute, a health policy think tank.

Neptune: Really, we call ourselves a "Drink Tank" instead of a "Think Tank." Get it? 'Cause we're into individual water issues.

And we have been studying water consumption and as far as we can tell, "eight glasses a day" doesn't make any sense.

Wendy: Why is that?

(sfx: two pairs of footsteps, constant to door)

Neptune: Let me show you what sort of experiments we're doing in our Personal Fluids Lab.

(sfx: door open, footsteps door close)

(sfx: a few more footsteps and stop)

Here we have several groups of volunteers confined in separate rooms in the study center under 24 hour surveillance.

(sfx: crowd sound up through filter)

This is one of our low hydration groups. They get three meals a day. Soups. Stews. Steamed vegetables. Food that's moist and hot and healthy.

One small glass of juice with each meal. Water if they want it. Not required. Almost nobody ever asks for any.

Wendy: What are they doing in there?

Neptune: Putting the finishing touches on a homemade jet engine. Built it themselves from scraps lying around the room and a few things we slipped them on the meal cart.

Wendy: How do you explain that?

Neptune: It's ingenuity, education, curiosity, good health, and they've got a lot of time on their hands. You've got nothing to do, you start to create. We've been recording their progress with cameras. Quite amazing. Now come with me.

(sfx: two pairs of footsteps, constant to door)

Wendy: So are you saying that any group of people put in this situation would do the same thing?

(sfx: door open)

(sfx: spirited group talking, arguing)

Neptune: We don't know yet, but we're trying to find out. That's certainly my hypothesis.

(sfx: footsteps, door close)

(sfx: a few more footsteps and stop)

This is our high hydration group. You can see the atmosphere is entirely different in here.

Wendy: It's not nearly as quiet. And it's very... tense.

Neptune: Yes, these people are NOT co-operating with each other. They're angry and snippy and impatient and holier-than-thou.

(sfx: muffled toilet flush, door open, toilet louder)

 Wendy: Where's their jet engine?

(sfx: door closes, sharply, toilet muffled)

Neptune: (laughs) That other group built that jet engine because they needed something to occupy their busy minds. This group HAS something. We force them to drink water all day long. Do they look healthier, Wendy?

Wendy: They all look a little bloated. Maybe it's the water bottles dangling from their belts like so many chads.

Neptune: Yup, they are really busy.

Wendy: But why haven't they accomplished anything, like the other group?

(sfx: muffled toilet flush, door open, toilet louder)

Guy 1: (off mic) Next!

(sfx: hubub)

Gal 1: Make way! Make way! I've been waiting ten minutes!

(sfx: door closes, sharply, toilet muffled)

Neptune: Obviously they're too busy, hydrating, venting, arguing, re-hydrating, and so forth and so on.

(sfx: door open)

Gal 1: Why doesn't anyone ever think to RE-FILL the paper in here?

Guy 1: (off mic) Sorry!

Gal 1: You think nobody's gonna use the room after you? Guess again!

Guy 1: SORRY!

Guy 2: Are you gonna stand in the door and argue, or are you gonna finish up in there! I've been waiting eight minutes!

Gal 1: Yah yah yah. Hold your horses.

(sfx: door close)

(sfx: hubub up)

Wendy: And so... the latest thinking is that eight glasses of water a day is maybe not so good after all. And if you share a bathroom with one or more others, the eight glasses a day rule can become as dark and limiting and sinister and as evil as the worst movie villain ever imagined.

(sfx: pounding on door)

Guy 2: Hurry UP! I can't wait much longer!

Wendy: I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting.

(music: theme up and out)

 

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