Wars are constantly on our mind these turbulent days. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about any of them. On the home front, concern is about the immigrant “invasion.” Locally it’s water that is front and center. And as the drought persists, so does our worry. Recalling disastrous shortages of the past, you have a tendency to forget how serious they were.
Remember when OPEC, now our friend, drastically curtailed oil exports, resulting in long lines at gas stations? [Unless you were FOR – a Friend of Richard (Kaku) – at his Richfield station on Alameda. He would personally escort longtime customers to the pumps; just about the only time you didn’t mind being called “a damn Jap” by envious commoners. I digress, but with a smile.]
PSAs (public service announcements) prompting water conservation are commonplace on radio and television, urging all to cut down: less watering of expansive lawns, shortening shower time, cutting down on car washes. Even Vin Scully joins the campaign, suggesting guys shut off the faucet when shaving. Governor Brown recently asked for a voluntary 20% reduction and got a 5% increase as a reward. Farmers are having to dig 2,000 feet to reach fresh water sources. Unheard of. [We had an artisan well in Riverside. If I tone down my background Pandora music, I can hear the rhythmic “putt-putt-putt” of the well’s motor even now. The water, by the way, tasted metallic. But again, I digress.]
When I developed a distaste for water, I can’t remember, nor why. Maybe it was in Poston, which should please “concentration camp” advocates; alas, yet another dastardly act of a punitive government. Like any normal grammar school denizen, I slurped from a water fountain at every opportunity prewar. But in camp there were none, nada, zip, zero! Can you imagine? With temperatures constantly in triple digits, not a single water faucet in the whole shebang. Since I never had reason to enter the Ad(ministration) Building, I can’t speak for that (air-conditioned) palace; nor the hospital. [For the record, never once did WTH ever see a dentist, optometrist or psychiatrist while incarcerated.]
I continued the liquid abstention while in the service. Overseas military personnel were warned not to drink the local mizu, which meant imbibing iced tea, coffee and beer for thirty months.
Once safe and stateside, the disregard for healthy libation continued. And was never resumed. I mean, wow, discounting tea, coffee, Pepsi Cola, beer and booze, I could go weeks without a drop of H2O. No kidding and no lie. Maybe months.
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Then came the epiphany [not really, but I love the word so please excuse]: At the KRH residents’ monthly (July) health checkup (BP and weight), CR2S inexplicably registered high numbers that shouldn’t be. My (lack of) weight continued its downward spin, but the systolic/diastolic/pulse rates all suddenly rose. I won’t bore you with a blow by blow, but it was educational as well as a wee bit disconcerting. Like when a gastroenterologist explains what he’s doing while probing and plumbing. In this case, we’re talking about a heartbeat that wasn’t quite in sync.
After all was said and explained, for want of a better summation, CR2S went out and bought a blood pressure monitor, to do exactly that every day until further notice. Instruction was to chart daily readings, twice a day, morning and night. Since I’m a stickler when it comes to following instructions, I do the S/D/P sequence four times instead. Besides, since I bought the damn thing, might as well make the most of it, right? I even test people who come to visit, just for kicks: “Hi, long time no see, how you been? Here, let me take your blood pressure.” A unique conversation opener, that’s for sure.
Somewhere along the yellow brick detour, the question of liquid intake entered into the discussion about pulse rate and blood pressure. Staff could not believe CR2S never drank water. No one can survive without regular intake, they admonished. Well there you go, now you’ve met one, was my retort. [Being facetious is sometimes preferable to admitting being uninformed.]
CR2S is now a water boy, par excellence. [And we’ll abstain from making yet another reference to Gunga Din, the classic MGM movie hero who gives his life for the British and Cary Grant. It can’t be clever if no one knows what the hell you’re talking about. Rudyard Kipling, where are you when you’re needed?]
Now I drink lots of water morning, noon and night. And in between when I remember. To reach the recommended daily consumption level is quite a chore. Making the challenge more difficult is because the usual dinner menu here leans more towards wa-shoku than steak (never) and potatoes. Water is not exactly synonymous with noodles or agedashi tofu.
So there you go, folks. I don’t know about the appropriateness of all this palaver (nor its interest level), but CR2S totally digs the idea of sharing knowledge and one never knows too much.
Until next week, sayonara you all, and don’t forget to drink well.
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.