Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Drinking The Something-Something or Another Low D Tale

I want to make an announcement.

I have to stop using the phrase, "Drinking the Kool - Aid". I feel it has been overused (myself included) and has become too mainstream. I will now shelf it along with: paradigm, proactive, and synergistic. I still mourn paradigm because I actually read, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and feel that I can explain at length the characteristics of paradigms. I am currently watching the word meme closely. I am not happy with it. Once the only people using the word were geeks. Now the hipsters have gravitated to it and alas it's only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. Meme, you are officially on notice.

However, I am here to talk about D. D is a term that I use to describe a person's ability to make a good decision. Lack of D typically manifests itself like this...

I grew up in Brockton, MA, a city of 88,000 and it was once a industrial hub for shoe making. When I was growing up Brockton was like it is today: dirty, nasty, and mean. My father grew up in Brockton and lived his whole life there (except when he was in Korea killing North Koreans). Pa Hall had a unique world view in many ways. He didn't want to drink the water that came out of the tap. That almost sounds reasonable, right? I don't drink water out of the tap (yeah, I know tap water is supposed to be safe but you forget I'm paranoid), rather I use a Brita water filter.

This is the part of the story that I have to tell you I'm not making this up.

There would be plastic gallon jugs of water in the refrigerator and I would drink the water without a thought. I made the basic assumption the water came from the store (duh). That would make sense, but Pa Hall wouldn't pay for water on basic principle. It's not like he couldn't pay for it. This was when a blue collar guy could work and support a wife and two kids. He had the cash.

One day I found the horrible, horrible truth about the water in the refrigerator. I was eleven and watching a Monster Movie one Saturday afternoon (hard to imagine). Dad decided my assistance was required. We jumped in the car with several empty water jugs. I didn't ask questions. I was mentally lamenting the loss of watching Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. Pa drove into the Lithuanian Village section of Brockton. The Village wasn't that far from downtown. He parked the car by some woods and we got out carrying the empty jugs. We walked by the broken beer bottles and other nasty trash (I'm going to let your imaginations run with that) until we came to our destination...

A small stream.

At which point Pa kneeled down and started to fill the first jug.

No, no, no, no! My head swam. I didn't know anything about cancer or pcb's or mercury, but that was not the right way to get your drinking water. I was eleven and I knew that. I was stunned.

"Ummm, Dad is that... safe?"

He looked at me like I was the idiot (NOTE: this is a favorite tactic of people with low D) and went back to filling his Jugs of Cancer.

"Of course it is," he replied.

Why was I there? Pa wanted to get a lot of water so he didn't have to make so many trips. Smart.

When we got home he put one jug in the 'frige and stored the others downstairs. He had a flawless system.

Me? I had the choice of drinking Brockton tap water or drinking from Brockton's own bottled Stream of Mental Deficiency.

I got to like milk... a lot.


  1. I grew up in Brockton too. Hated it. Especially High School. I was in the band and got bullied. It was a long time ago.

    My dad was a milkman - yes delivery to the door. And my mother worked in one of those shoe factories you mentioned. Neither of my parents were well educated, but they would never have taken water from a nasty stream. Youo have to be making that up.

    As bad as it may have been, we drank the tap water. Sometime after I left home, my parents started getting bottled water from the store. I think the water quality went downhill or there was some expose' about the water in the news.

    But water quality has gone downhill most everywhere, especially in big cities. Most everyone I know now buys it from the store or has filters... including me.

  2. Ken, I wish I was making it up!

  3. Andy,

    Your father probably brought you to the freshwater spring in the woods near the Lit Village. I have been there and filled my own jugs with that water. Granted it's not a beautiful location but the water is fine and hardly a Jug of Cancer. I believe the spring is owned by Blue Hills Spring Water probably the source for those water filled jugs you see in the store. I think you may have been shocked as a boy to actually see water coming out of the ground instead of out a faucet and then over the years have changed this memory into your dad filling a water jug from the runoff pipe out of the back of a nuclear power plant to create and illustration of a father who makes bad decisions to suit some internal frustration. How's that for some shrinkage?

  4. Thank you for this article. I described the whole sping-water/downtown Brockton/run-off scenario and she thought I was making it up. Wow...Brockton...what a place.

  5. Brockton, Brockton, Brockton... many tales to be told about that town!

    Should I shamelessly plug for folks to become followers on the comments?

    I am shameless so yes!

  6. ...more content,... not enough to read! longer articles please!


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