Field Test In The Carbonation Nation

swallowWhen I first moved to Germany I was surprised to discover how much the people liked their carbonated mineral water.

Not that the concept of bubbles in my drinking water was anything new. My parents had big-ass bottles of soda water delivered to our doorstep every few weeks when I was a kid. But, it seemed that the average German generally frowned upon drinking tap water, opting instead for buying half liter bottles of bubbly. It was and remains in such high demand that most companies distributing it offer up their product in varying strengths:

— Average “that tickles” bubbles

— Medium “scratch that itch” fuzzy bubbles

— Extra Strength “and you though Pop Rocks could dislocate your jaw” hydrogen bomb carbonation

No, I definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

For the record, I’ve never been a huge fan of carbonated water. Gimme tap water any day, pollutants and evil sicko trace elements be damned. I’m still breathing and all my parts are in working order. But, a bottle or two of the Average stuff invariably made its way home, especially when I discovered it was great for reviving flat night-before rum & Coke.

I don’t drink it anymore, however, because it’s too bloody dangerous having it around the house.

One night many years ago I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, throat parched. Automatic reflex was to get up and grab a cup of water from the bathroom tap, a habit I’d had since childhood. So, half asleep, I shuffled through the apartment to the solve the problem, a process I’d gone through often enough to complete with the lights off and eyes closed. What I failed to notice when I grabbed the bathroom cup, however, was the handsoap dispenser. The thing was part of a matching set, with the pump adding an extra inch or so of height to it. Just high enough to peek over the edge of the cup, which is the direction it just happened to be turned. And the spout had a leak…

I’d never had my mouth washed out with soap before that night (even though I bloody well deserved it more times than I, you or anyone else can count). Needless to say I was wide awake in half a second, soapy water spewed all over the bathroom, me standing there with my tongue flapping as I tried to scrape the taste of Dove Extra Mild Don’t You Feel So Fucking Clean And Fresh off it with my teeth. At which point I remembered the bottle of water standing beside the coffee table and made a mad dash for salvation.

Baking soda mixed the liquid of your choice has nothing on German mineral water + handsoap. Mentos and Coke? Not nearly as impressive as seeing and hearing bubbles froth out the mouth and nose at 3:00am. And the moaning and groaning that goes on in the aftermath as you try to get your head screwed on straight and peel the tastebuds off the inside of your skull make Beavis And Butthead dialogue sound like an Obama speech.

Food for thought next time you need a prank for YouTube, I suppose. I’ll be watching; cold, refreshing, completely harmless tap water in hand.

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