In 1981, I watched the first round of the NCAA tournament in the hospital. Which reminds me of my evil nemesis, now vanquished. The Water Bottle.
I’ve always been mechanically inept. For the most part. There are things I can do, including some basic computer hardware stuff, and I’m great at putting up shelving. But for most other things–not so much.
The premier demonstration of my ineptitude was that infernal water bottle I tried to install on my ten-speed back in high school. It was a white plastic water bottle, with a few pieces of hardware to attach it to the bike. Installation didn’t require an engineering degree. The instructions were clear, or as clear as they can be when written by someone in Japan with minimal English skills. It should have been a simple task. My brother Stu could have done it in three minutes, blindfolded. Upside down. While being kicked by wild horses.
I couldn’t figure it out. I struggled mightily with that belligerant water bottle, trying to figure out how to attach it to the bicycle bar. I’m sure that, in my frustration, I kicked some things around and perhaps flung the bottle once or twice at the garage wall. My tribulation worked absolute no patience, such was the insidious evil of that bottle.
Finally, I gave up in frustration. The thing simply didn’t work. What other conclusion could I draw? I could not, with even my best effort, conquer the water bottle. It was most assuredly demon-possessed.
For some reason, I kept the bottle around. And there it was, six years later, now a college graduate, when I woke up with back spasms. The pain was intense. I couldn’t make it to the phone to call work, nor to answer it when my coworkers called to see where I was. So I lay there on the floor (I did make it to the floor) for three or four hours before my fellow workers came to check on me and the landlord let them in.
During that time, nature saw fit to call. I could see the toilet, just 10 feet away, but I couldn’t get there. What to do? Well…hold it. But that only works for so long, because nature is relentless, and God designed the human body without an internal evaporation system. So I had to think of something, and as it turned out, I thought of several options, none of them dignified.
Then I noticed the water bottle. Right there beside the bed. Probably never used. Certainly never used for its intended purpose, attached to a bike. Waiting, for such a time as this. My ill fortunes now created an urgent purpose for that despised container which had so vexed my teenage soul years earlier. Why did I even keep this object of past torment? I don’t know. But now, it provided an answer to a pressing–and let me assure you, it was pressing–need.
My only concern was–would it overflow? It didn’t.
An ambulance came and took me to the hospital, where I remained for six days. People went back and forth to my apartment, retrieving my bathrobe and clothes and other stuff. Then I finally came home.
And there, sitting on the bedroom floor, was the white water bottle, cap firmly in place. And that was not Mountain Dew inside, fermenting for the past week.
I emptied it into the toilet, and decided I probably didn’t want to ever ever EVER use that water bottle. So I threw it in the trash.
And so ended the sad, purposeless, unfulfilled, but ultimately critically useful life of The Water Bottle from Hell.