Just Don’t Drink the Water

If you’ve ever traveled abroad you know that everyone and his brother wants to give advice about what you should do, where you should go, and what constitutes good fashion sense. But what’s the one thing everybody says about places like Mexico, Africa, South America, and your cousin Earl’s property out in Oklahoma?

“Just don’t drink the water.”

As much as I know this is true about far away lands with strange names, I never expected it to be true of America’s deep South. But I found out, much to the dismay of my internal organs, that the sulfur rich water of Virginia, Georgia, and certain parts of Florida doesn’t get along too well with the inner parts of my being. In fact, they fight like two squirrels gaming for that last acorn.wattwiller

Though I mean no offense to those of you who live in the South, all I can say is this: I spent several days doing my best impression of Mount Kilauea whereby both noxious gases and a potentially deadly flow found its way out of the appropriate cavities of my physiognomy. To say that lava flow is dangerous is obvious. But to say the toxic fumes emanating from the hotel bathroom were just as dangerous would be truthful in every way. At my effervescent peak I could have given Mount Vesuvius a run for her money.

Just for the record I have consumed no water in the last 14 days that has not been boiled, bottled, or otherwise treated in a way that would be favorable to my intestines. If there’s any running to be done during my final days in Florida it will be to and from the pool or along the sandy beaches of Daytona. By the way, did you know the “Sandy Beaches of Daytona” would be a lousy name for motorcycle club? I’m just saying.

That’s just one of the many things I’ve learned since becoming a temporary resident of Central Florida. Some other things I’ve learned include:

  • everything here is slower, except highway speeds
  • “cold” is a relative term
  • if we were to move the nation’s capital to Disney World and replace every government worker with an Imagineer we’d be a lot better off
  • large men in Speedos are no more attractive on the Gulf Coast than the French Riviera

While we’re talking about Speedos, I bet you have no idea where they came from. Neither did I until I looked up my most trusted reference: index.html. Apparently the Speedo brand has been around since 1914 when some Australian surfers realized they needed attractive swimwear that would readily relieve itself of its body covering responsibilities in the midst of a gnarly wave. It has performed admirably ever since.

Just for the record we, by which I mean me and my staff of one (including me), cannot technically use the name “Speedo” as it is a protected trademark belonging to another Australian company that found the original Speedo brand too tempting to resist, thereby buying it for a couple of cheap beads and a few spools of thread.

So for the sake of the rest of this column we’ll just say “boy bikini.” I’m sure this term will evoke a visual that is far more frightening than the aforementioned brand name we’re no longer going to name but which starts with an “S” and ends with “peedo”.

That said the boy bikini offers men, by which I mean Italian and/or Greek retirees of the male species, the opportunity to go to the beach wearing little more than their thong-clad female counterparts. I personally find this repulsive on so many levels: moral, visual, and practical. Not to mention the fact that any man who weighs in excess of 170 pounds, or who has enough body hair to be confused with a jumbo-sized Brillo pad, should cover himself up with an oversized T-shirt and a pair of baggy shorts. Trust me when I say we don’t really want to see you “let it all hang out.”

It’s been a good two weeks in the Sunshine State thus far. We’ll be heading home later this week to the great tundra of the Northeast. Rest assured I will not be drinking any amount of non-purified water until I get to the Pennsylvania State line. I also plan on not donning a boy bikini…

Ever.

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