I think we live in an over-hydrated country, and I'm getting really tired of all this talk about needing to drink 90-some glasses of water a day.
At a time when the West is in a bottomless drought, it doesn't seem to me like a good idea to tell people to chug more water -- especially now that the medical community has confirmed that drinking too much water can kill you. Honest.
A recent story in the Arizona Daily Star (out of Tucson) by Carla McClain relates the sad story of Carol Tufts.
Seems Tufts, an 80-year-old Tucson resident, faithfully drank the recommended 10 glasses of water a day for years. Problem is, such a practice can flush sodium from your body, dangerously lowering your blood sodium level to a life-threatening point.
It's a phenomenon that is only now becoming fully understood and diagnosed, according to McClain, in part because its symptoms are very similar to those of dehydration -- nausea, fatigue and muscle weakness. But nearly a fifth of all Grand Canyon hikers ended up water intoxicated, until signs were posted warning them not to drink too much water.
And more than 10 percent of Boston Marathon runners finished the 2002 race with hyponatremia -- the medical term for below-normal sodium levels. In fact, one runner -- a 28-year-old woman -- died.
In Tufts' case, she chugged four straight glasses of water one sluggish morning, thinking it might help her feel better. Instead, her sodium level plunged and she was rushed to Tucson Medical Center.
The doctor who treated her said that elderly people often combine too much water with their prescription drugs and end up in big trouble.
"Too much water?" McClain asks. "In the southern Arizona desert? Where the never-ending mantra drummed into our heads tells us to drink water constantly to ward off the perils of our dry heat?"
Tufts, on the other hand, took it all in stride.
"This was a tremendous surprise to me," she said. "It's a fascinating phenomenon."
And a deadly one. But we'll be OK if we just remember to heed what our mothers told us -- that too much of a good thing just might become a bad thing.
Unfortunately, there are some people who like to defy their mothers and still others who have a death wish, in which case we respectfully request that you use bottled water to kill yourself so you don't cause a drain on the local supply.
And speaking of death wishes, a group of U.S. sociologists recently found a link between how often country music is played on the radio and the suicide rate of urban white men. I want to assure my good friends over at KMOG that I find such a contention outrageous.
We all know it isn't country music that's solely responsible for the suicide mania sweeping the urban white male community, but a combination of bad women and country music. These songs -- all genuine -- tell the tale:
- "I Thought She Was Out Jogging, But She Was Running Around On Me"
- "I Got In At 2 With A 10 And Woke Up At 10 With A 2"
- "If The Jukebox Took Teardrops I'd Cry All Night Long"
- "You're A Cross I Can't Bear"
- "I'm Gettin' Gray From Being Blue"
- "You Hurt The Love Right Out Of Me"
- "She Made Toothpicks Out Of The Timber Of My Heart"
- "If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You"
- "I've Been Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart"
- "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me Her Memory Will"
- "You Stuck My Heart In a Old Tin Can and Shot It Off a Log"
- "He's Been Drunk Since His Wife's Gone Punk"
- "I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You"
- "She Got The Gold Mine and I Got The Shaft"
- "Thank God And Greyhound She's Gone"
- "She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger"
- "My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart"
- "I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling"
I ask you, what chance has an urban white male got? But if you somehow overcome and muster the courage to go bowling, drink beer -- not water.