January 15, 2008
As a junior in high school, there are several things I have learned over the years: from where to walk in the hall, the quickest way from class to class, which day the best hot lunch specials are on, or how freshman gossip circles in the middle of the halls is kind of like bowling. But another key ingredient to student life here is water fountains. As most of us know, there are some good fountains, bad fountains, new fountains, and what I like to call blood fountains. You may or may not have encountered one of these blood fountains before. Do allow me to explain.

When you approach such a fountain as this, you begin to study it. If you have never experienced one before, you might just think it is some old fountain. You might approach it and twist the metal death knob on the side to release a stream of what you think is water. The problems haven’t even started yet. As you see it, it is some old pasty beige brownish tone that God never intended to see on his green earth. Amid the dirty shallow dish where the water is supposed to pour into, you can see a sticky swamp land of wadded up, chewed gum. If you can feel that death knob I previously mentioned, you might feel a rusty, hard material that would probably scrape the skin off your
fingers if you held it for too long.

This fountain is “weathered”, shall we say. It was probably installed around the time disco died, but no one really knows for sure. Once you get past the gag factor of the gum and the rusty, disgusting exterior of the fountain, you might even be thirsty enough to continue on trying to drink it. And here is a side note on drinking in the middle of hallways, number one: don’t wear a large backpack while drinking as to prevent you getting side swiped by some football player playing tag with his buddy. Number two: If there is so much of a supply and demand factor as to that you have to wait in line to use the fountain, do not make a line across the hall. You’re not allowed to make a human wall of thirsty people, because not only is it annoying for those trying to pass through, but you could just as easily be lined up along side the wall. Finally number three, and a general courtesy rule for water bottles: if you see some poor soul behind you waiting for you to finish filling your 2-Liter Nalgene, allow him to drink first and then you m ay resume filling your reservoir.

Now, lets say you took a drink, God forbid. The color, texture and shape of the fountain is the least of your worries. The second you get once sip in, you immediately recoil. The namesake for which I gave this type of fountain becomes painfully clear: it tastes a lot like blood. Now you’d think the health inspectors and the food marshals and sanitary superintendents would have discovered this by now. However, they seem to have gone off for lunch for about 40 years and you’re still stuck with the worst tasting water in town. As your taste buds analyze further and further, you begin to wonder whether this water is even safe to drink. This porcelain devil’s drink is so foul, you might want to reconsider how thirsty you are.

Which brings me to my next question: What about those people who continually drink out of these fountains? Are they vampires? I can see them excuse themselves in the middle of class because they’re a little low on blood sugar, and go straight to the Vampire Fountain for their daily “fix” of warm delicious, blood. It’s true, these fountains do not possess the ability to make the water colder than the air around you. So, as you “man up” and go in for a swig or two, you get to look forward to some dirty lukewarm liquid.

In sharp contrast, you know very well when you find a good fountain. It’s like a cascading waterfall of crystal clear tasty water. This is the type of water they used to baptize baby Jesus. Several differences you will notice exist between your average blood fountain and these Fountains of Youth. First off, as you approach it, it practically draws you in to drink it. It is so enticing that you might go out of your way and through a group of people just to get a drink of it, even if you’re not thirsty. Second, the overall look and feel of it is much more acceptable. It is clean and uniform with other fountains of its caliber. You might notice a slight hum when you press its button-operated water mechanism. No, that’s not the faint caroling of angels, but it just so happens to be a refrigerator. Yes, a fridge. This being my third point, you can conjecture how this simple feature makes one of these fountains a treat for any student.

In summation, the worst water fountains are the dirty porcelain ones found all around a school. Sure they might have been installed several years ago, but that certainly does not outweigh the atrocities to mankind they have committed. Be sure to steer clear of these gurgling demon feeding grounds. Conversely, the new water fountains you may have encountered are a heavenly invention and probably cure cancer. You should definitely drink from these refrigerated wonders, and who knows you might even have a choir of angels aid you in your drinking.

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