February 1, 2023

It’s Only Water . . . by Brendon Marks


Water is amazing. Take two chunks of hydrogen, one chunk of oxygen, slam them together, and the result is a substance unlimited in its usefulness and versatility. Occasionally it has a down side, usually when a lot of the combined chunks get together and move from one place to another, but generally it’s pretty handy. Its popularity is widespread, and humans flock to it, more so on warm weekends.

Any realtor will attest to the fact that humans are attracted to water. Oceanfront, lakefront, and riverfront properties always have the highest price tags. One whole state seems obsessed with the fact that they have 10,000 holes filled with rainwater and melted snow. Some people only sit on their porch and watch it, just pleased that it’s there; perhaps a result of their ancestry. The only survivors of the Middle Ages were those that lived protected by moats, who then passed the water-loving gene to their descendants.

Therefore I never understood when I saw people running to get out of the rain. Picture the average person’s reaction when confronted by a five-year-old armed with a garden hose, or a dog shaking off the water from a recent dip in the pool. What is different? It’s just water. Then I noticed some common characteristics: The water is small and airborne. Therefore, my conclusion: big water on ground–good, small, flying water–bad. However, frozen water, as in snow, is a contradiction. When snow is airborne, people squeal with delight, “Oh look, it’s snowing.” But my Dad never said, “Oh goody, I now have another opportunity to test the strength of my heart muscle by removing two feet of snow from the driveway before going to work.”

In order to test my theory I needed to be able to make rain on demand. I adjusted one of my lawn sprinkler heads to cover the sidewalk and rigged a switch on the solenoid valve. Then I hid inside the house and turned on the sprinklers whenever someone came within range. Not a single person reacted favorably. Most of the younger subjects returned to play in the spray after the initial flight, but the older folks were predictable in their negative reaction. One gentleman in particular shook his fist at my house and seemed to be looking around for unmentionably nasty objects to hurl onto my porch. (The switch also activated a video camera, and some of the more animated reactions are scheduled for a TV feature at a later date.)

In spite of what seemed to be conclusive evidence, I was still puzzled. I have used an artificial rain closet in my house every day, and not once have I felt an overwhelming urge to run from the experience. I also assumed that, since virtually every new home has a similar closet, I am not alone in this regard.

I wondered if it was the clothing, or lack thereof, which made the difference. I would have continued my investigation, but all attempts to duplicate my experiment at any one of several nudist colonies were rejected. Apparently they were not convinced there was a scientific basis for this research, especially when they saw the video camera. I asked if nudists run inside when a sudden shower comes up, but they declined to answer and politely asked me to leave.

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