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I guess I'm a Goofus

July 2nd, 2009 (09:48 am)

When I was a kid, I read an article in Highlights magazine that gave excellent instructions on how to pour out a bottle of water. It explained that if you upended the bottle and then swirled it around clockwise, the water would form a whirlpool at the mouth of the bottle, and it would all flow out much faster! Highlights helpfully suggested that you challenge your friends to a bottle-pouring-out contest, so you could make them feel like morons for not being able to empty a bottle as fast as you. Good times!

Not having any friends as a kid, I challenged my mom to a bottle-pouring-out contest instead. You can imagine the way my world tilted on its axis when I swirled my bottle around just the way Highlights had instructed, and the water DID go out faster -- but my mother still beat me! Because she *squeezed* her bottle! At first I accused her of cheating. Then, when I realized that if my mother was cheating in bottle-pouring-out contests there truly could be no rationality in the universe whatsoever, I said that it must have been a “mistake”. Physics made a mistake that day, my friends. Highlights magazine said so.

Cut to twenty years later. I am emptying out the remainder of a bottle of horrid Aquafina FlavorSplash (Raspberry! With Other Natural Flavors) in the bathroom sink here so I can refill it with normal water that has not been splashed with flavor.* Since the bottle itself has been tainted by pallid ghosts of raspberries long since passed, this requires me to refill and empty the bottle several times by way of exorcism.

And so the bottle goes swirl swirl swirl, and the whirlpool forms at the mouth, and out the water goes in a shining circular arc. And then I refill it, and swirl swirl swirl again, and watch in dumb 9 am stupefaction as the water pours out in another shining arc. And I’m three shining arcs in before I remember that physics didn’t actually break that day that my mother and I competed to empty a bottle the fastest. And that, therefore, I should be squeezing my bottle.

And I tried that for two seconds. And my hand resisted. It did not want to squeeze the bottle. Somewhere in the back of my head a little voice was wailing plaintively “yeah but Highlights SAID!

So I gave in to the inevitable and went back to swirling the bottle again. I lost about thirty seconds of my life. But the little person with the little voice was happy.

I guess you never quite recover from a Highlights childhood.


*I got this affront to drinkable liquids everywhere when I was in a Dunkin Donuts and I wanted to get a Diet Coke, but they were a Pepsi place, so I asked for a Diet Pepsi, but they didn’t have Diet Pepsi, so I looked at what sodas they did have and it was Sierra Mist and three flavors of Crush, so then I went to get a water and they had five rows of Aquafina FlavorSplash Raspberry! water and no normal water.1 WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME, DUNKIN DONUTS.

1In answer to your inevitable question, I needed to be able to carry the water in my purse, so I couldn’t get it in a cup. Besides, Dunkin Donuts now charges for water in a cup. They put ice in it and call it a Blizzard Blast or something like that. I guess giving it a brand name justifies charging fifty cents for tap water.


Posted by: Susan Jane Bigelow (shashalnikya)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)

Highlights really was the moral arbiter of my universe when I was a kid. But pretty much the only thing I remember from it now are the cartoons, such as Goofus and Gallant, and the one with the family of people who I think were made of wood. I don't remember what they were called.

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