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COLUMN: All Bottled Up

“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 contained 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.


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. Consider Napoleon’s demise.


That’s a scary sounding one. But break it down. Heave out the first part of the word and 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…


“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 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

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