Notes for
a new campaign,

Mei Chin
We at Water Inc. believe that literature could have been a better place if its characters had eschewed their usual beverages (mead, tea, absinthe) for WATER. It's a widely accepted fact that two liters of water a day is good for you, and being dehydrated can lead to fatigue, irritability, and hallucination. Therefore, if only those crazy characters that we love so much had drunk water they could have done away with depression, adultery, incest, violence, and pestilence.*

Literary Celebrities Who Did Not Drink Water include Emma Bovary, Gregor Samsa, Oedipus, and the Consul from Under the Volcano. Whereas Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables, subsisted almost entirely on water drawn from the spring and the occasional glass of milk, and lived a healthy and happy existence. Aside from talking to trees and fairies, she did not exhibit any strange or morbid tendencies.

With this in mind, some of our most well-beloved characters** have generously offered to demonstrate how their lives would have been different had they gotten their two liters of water a day.

§     §     §

Dear Water Inc.

I have swapped out all the Rhine draught for water and have noticed such an improvement!

Since I was drinking water instead of wine on the parapets, I never saw the ghost of my father. We retired at about five in the morning --- cock's crow, so we were pretty sure that there would be no ghosts after that --- for tea and toast and it was pleasant catching up with the boys.

The rest of the court is drinking water too! Ophelia, instead of drowning in the brook, realized that the water was full of minerals --- she floated a penny on its surface! So she bottled it and started to sell it to specialty stores. We are all so proud of our fair maid! Next year she will be opening a chain of water and oxygen bars, but for now you can get her product on www.lethesbramble.com.

Mother never drank from the poisoned chalice of wine. I mean, who drinks wine when you're in the middle of a life-and-death fencing match? She found the water a refreshing alternative.

Horatio mentioned that the wine was making my flesh a little too solid, and that the water has made a great improvement on my figure. I am no longer fat and scant of breath.

Also I am proud to say that I have graduated with honors from Wittenberg (finally! At the age of thirty!) and have agreed to do a series of motivational talks around Europe. My first book, Get Over It! is out in bookstores, and my second, It's not your mother's fault, is due out next year.

You can find more information about me on mywebsite:

--- Gratefully,
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

§     §     §

Franz Kafka comes home from a long day at the insurance company, writes "Metamorphosis" on the page, and then, realizing he is thirsty, goes into the kitchen. He hesitates over coffee, absinthe, Ovaltine, beer, and then finally he lights on a six-pack of water. He drinks the water, writes "METAMORPHOSIS" on the title page, then calls his mother, calls his two fiancées, lifts weights, and falls asleep. Last night he dreamt of a man starving in a cage; the night before that, he dreamed of being blown away in a bucket, but tonight he dreams of models cavorting half naked, scampering around a lake. The next day he wakes up, feeling curiously refreshed, and writes his first sentence, "When Gregor Samsa woke up, he realized that something was different. He resolved to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, quit his job as a salesman, and pursue his life-long dream of inventing a talking toothbrush."

§     §     §

Today Mother died. Or maybe it was yesterday, I am not sure. Which made me think that instead of coffee or brandy I should probably have water. I tasted it and it didn't taste bad. So I flirted with the Pilates instructor and got her number, and then went to my lawyers, sorted out the business with mother's will, drank more water, made an egg white omelet and realized that I had really had a very productive day

§     §     §

Anna Karenin, or Anna K. as she prefers to be called now, declined to submit anything but agreed to an interview. "I'm so incoherent and unfocused and rambling..." she explained. "Anything I give you is bound to be too long" --- she paused playfully --- "by about five hundred pages..."

*Maybe not pestilence. Simon from Marketing just pointed out that poor people died because of water-borne bacteria. Simon also suggests that we include the following:

W A R N I N G: Water is 92.8 percent plague-free, but if you experience boils, rashes, fever, or death you should consult your physician immediately.

**on loan from the Union of Tragic Literary Personalities UTLP

NOTE: Must not repeat the debacle of last year's campaign: SLEEP! Salvador Dali didn't, but Calvin Coolidge got plenty.

--- From Water
John Knechtel, Editor
© 2009, MIT Press
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