Dear Dirty America


Water Shortage or Not, California’s Tap Water Is Dead — Are You Drinking Dead Tap Liquid?

Water Shortage or Not, California’s Tap Water Is Dead — Are You Drinking Dead Tap Liquid?
January 25
22:13 2014

Los Angeles    

     “This powerful writing on water that you’ve been doing is nothing short of Pulitzer Prize material…”

–Hubert Humdinger, exiled cultural philosopher, giving me a rare compliment over our shaky Skype connection.

Marlin spit the water out of his mouth. It splattered on the floor. Saliva and H2O. An unflattering combination. Marlin’s mouth twisted into what looked like a loosened sphincter with one solitary tooth.

You disgraced my floor, I said. In medieval times, spitting out a cool drink of water given graciously to you by a friend in his own house would have been cause for a duel. You’ve also disgraced our fair city. And we’re not far from medieval times. I punched the air with anger. And the governor was just saying on the radio, I told Marlin, that while California is never short on assholes, new and old, we do, from time to time, experience extreme shortages of water.

“That water’s dead, bro!” he said. “What is that? Los Angeles tap water?” He ran his tongue over his top lip, then his bottom, carefully lifting it over that jutting tooth. “I thought you had more sense than to drink that.”

Marlin, my wily friend who pulls his long, thinning hair from around his head into a greasy rat’s tail, sometimes suffers from paranoia. But I later found his words made sense. Dead water is a real thing. As opposed to what? you might ask. Well, as opposed to living water.

Tap water is not living water, but don’t expect your local water company to know the fucking difference. As a society, we’ve lost long ago a proper respect for rejuvenating healthy water structure.


I’ve written about water before, and the horrors of what actually dribbles out of your faucets, in an article called, Cool, clear water: just because you’re not on prescription pills doesn’t mean you’re not taking them. But it was only recently I’d read about so called ‘living’ water. That’s when I was able to taste the foul nature of our dead city water or, as what some in the business of water cynicism call “government treated tap liquid.”

So Marlin thought I’d been pouring him Perrier, but really I just store tap water in old glass bottles and keep them cold in the refrigerator. It’s no wonder he was shocked.

Living water has been studied by many scientists, however they are rarely allowed to walk in the halls of established science institutes, because they are considered crackpots. Sometimes a crackpot is just someone who won’t adjust to the timeworn canon of theories espoused by the most prestigious centers of learning and development. Other times a crackpot is just what it sounds like. A wacko. A rube tinkerer of theories whipping up his own ideological storm for the hell of it.

There is value in both types of crackpot. However, there is a lot to know about living water.

Let’s put it this way: like most hillbillies I’ve grown up with, they know how to speak, but they don’t have a clue about language. Well, we think we know everything there is to know about water, because we swallow it clear (we hope) and then we release it yellow (usually), yet we haven’t a clue about how water works. Nor do most scientists. At least that’s what leading water and health researcher, Dr Gerald Pollack says.

Pollack believes we still have very little idea how water truly interacts with our cells, and how water interfaces with our proteins, nucleic acids, and salts. To understand the workings of the cell, we must understand the various structures of water. “…the water in each of your cells achieves its ordered structure from energy obtained from the environment, typically in the form of electromagnetic radiation, including sunlight and infrared heat” (source). The more structured the water, the better it lines up and interfaces with your proteins, cells, and tissues, and improves hydration on a cellular level.

According to the more mystical water distributors, Green Frontiers, water acts like a liquid crystal through which the communication and interaction between cells is magnified. When water is not exposed to the natural, life-giving elements, such as earth, wind, and sun, its structure no longer reflects or carries that vibrancy. Compare the tumbling waterfalls, and the energy that is created and stored in the water, as opposed to the liquid that stagnates in pipes below a city’s streets.

It’s no wonder I was always feeling so thirsty, I told Marlin that afternoon. Despite how many glasses of water I drink each day.


You might think this is a lot of baloney, but I am not the only one who thinks about these issues. It’s not unlikely that the governor of California also understands, at least superficially, the importance of naturally structured water, yet he has no platform from which to speak. The yuppies and the rednecks together would throw a man out of office for talking so unreasonably. But not everybody is foolish:

My spiritualist has also heard of living water. That’s no surprise. He’s heard of everything, but rarely does he give out any good advice. Which is why I was going to fire him this new year. I kept him on because he said he’d offer me more solutions for balanced, healthy, positive living, so I’m still giving him another chance.

In his nasally voice he instructed me to set a bowl of water outside in the shade and let it brood in the pensive light of the stars. That will endow the water with living energy from the air. “And to another batch of water, you should swirl it. Motion recalibrates the water molecules into awesome crystals.”

Dear Lord, I said, set an open bowl of water outside in the reeking late night LA air? It’ll be filthy in seconds.

“Tawaak ‘ala allah!” he squealed. (Trust in God! is how you’d translate that Arabic sentiment into English. It’s one of my spiritualist’s staple phrases, yet it means very little.)

I said I’d give the fat fucker, with his pale ruddy skin and light spindly chin hairs, another chance. I say that lovingly. He’s a friendly man most of the time. A metaphysical one-hit wonder. Yet, he means well, and maybe he’d given me good advice this time.

So I filled a bowl with deadened tap water. I waited until just after 5.30, when the sun was nearly down and the Korean BBQ joints had piping into the air the smoky smell of their wood-burning stoves searing the flesh of cows, pigs, goats, and chickens, I surreptitiously set the bowl behind the shrubs planted in the raised flowerbeds in front of my apartment building.


It had to be around midnight when I heard the light tinkling sounds of dripping water. I thought it was my toilet acting up again. It’s always something in these overpriced, prison cell apartments. But the sound was not from inside the apartment. Nobody has ever praised me for the shape of my ears, but many friends have noticed the remarkable capacity of my eardrums, despite how I batter them with death metal and opera. That’s probably why they are so good. Always at heightened awareness.

A gentle, cool breeze blew through the open window. Only the moon dared peek in on the squalor. But then I understood in a flash from where that delicate sound of splashing water came.

I lifted my kitchen window open as far as I could and leaned out. Four stories below, serene and on the sidewalk, stood an older gentleman. He was bent over at the waist. He carried with bloated hands palmfuls of water and threw them into his face.

A beat-up shopping cart from the local grocery store was parked a few feet away. A dirty white shoe sat atop a pile of magazines and grubby blankets. Had I not known better, I’d have thought my old pal Lyle Shove-It had migrated a couple miles south. Except Lyle doesn’t know where I live, and he doesn’t leave his bench, which is located at a very famous intersection in Hollywood.

No, this man looked like an embattled, harried Ernest Hemingway, had Hemingway had the balls to live this long and integrate into the modern world where the written word is so damned worthless, excellent writers pay for a chance to work for free. Hubert Humdinger says Hemingway blew his own head off at just the right moment in history.

I nearly shouted at the man. “Hey, you miscreant! Do you realize you’re dipping into naturally energized water and disrupting an important social, spiritual, and scientific experiment?”

But I hadn’t the heart to scold the beleaguered man, standing beneath the picturesque yellow light atop the front door of the apartment complex. A solid metal door, by the way, that keeps people like him away from people like us. Safety, as long as you don’t step out of your cell and into the real world.

Hemingway backed away from the shrubs. He wiped his face with his sleeve and took a deep breath. As unsettled as I was, I couldn’t help but feel it was more than a coincidence. Maybe a higher Will using my paranoia about dead water prompted me to set out that bowl for somebody else who actually needed it. Somebody who didn’t give a flying fuck about the quality of tap water.


Perhaps the notion of living water is not possible in a place like Los Angeles. A city that shouldn’t even exist, if it weren’t for very precarious late night water deals decades ago. So we could have enough water — dammed and pumped and jammed into corroding, rusty pipes. Water we take for granted every day. To hydrate a city built around the entertainment capital of the world, which remains the last bright spot left in the American economy, at least that’s how the president sees it. Like that last pompous tooth left in Marlin’s lower jaw, and how marvelous it shines when he’s chatting away and the light catches the spit just right.

I’d seen old Hemingway before in my neighborhood, shuffling along beneath the laser beam afternoon sun, while shoving his cart before him at a snail’s pace. No, that’s not true. Just a bit faster than a snail, but not much.

It was too late to call my spiritualist. I’d roil him out of his rat’s nest bed. I thought about what I’d tell him in the morning regarding the living water instructions, or how I’d find the words to properly explain how I was feeling: that there is no room in Los Angeles for public experiments because somebody will always come along and break it, or shit on it, or step in it, or steal it. If you can’t lock it up, or keep whatever it is behind secured doors, you’ll lose it.

But then I realized Hemingway had an extra shuffle in his step that night. I swear it to you. He’d been re-energized in a way I’d never seen him before. Whether the full moon had anything to do with it, I admit I don’t know, but he walked with extra vigor, and the squeaky front wheel of his cart squealed at faster intervals than usual. I’d say the old bag of wind was walking at quite a clip.

Put that shotgun away, Ernest! I shouted just for the fun of it. Tonight is not a good time for crass solutions! You’ve been energized for another day. Unload that chamber and tip the barrel against the wall! The Governor called. He’s given you a reprieve.

I shivered by the open window for a long while. I listened until I couldn’t hear anymore the cart’s grating screech that will, if you sleep with your window open, sit you right up in bed with the urgency of a faulty smoke detector going off in the night.

I didn’t sit long enough, however, to watch the water dry that the old man had spilled onto the pavement. I imagine living water molecules linger awhile longer than regular dead tap liquid, and I don’t have that kind of time these nights.

Those enhanced water molecules with their higher vibrations and tightened, energized structures, would not be easily jarred lose and scattered into the dry evening air. No, that highly structured water would resist. But like all living things before and after that tiny blip in time, they would have to transition to the next Great Cycle.

[photo by Roger McLassus]

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