Giver of life. Quencher of the parched. Hangover cure extraordinaire. Wet. Juicy. Free. Water, the unsung hero of the liquid family, so taken for granted in America that many readers will no doubt wonder, "Water? What the hell kind of Drink of the Week is that?" It's the primal one, the building block of every drink you've ever drunk and yet, you, drinker of many varieties of liquor, consume so little of it that your bones creak and your head aches. And then, when you do drink water, you're all chicken about it and purchase it at a QuikTrip when you could simply dunk a glass under your faucet and receive cool, crisp refreshment, one with only trace amounts of barium, chromium, nitrate, lead, copper and atrazine. In other parts of the world, we feel compelled to remind you, water isn't taken for granted, and people drinking it end up with severe cases of dysentery and diarrhea; they die from drinking water, while you're worried about a little bit of barium, too much of which may cause an increase in blood pressure, or chromium, which in large doses may cause allergic dermatitis? Toughen up.
Oh water, which arrives at your home from the Mississippi and Missouri rivers via, respectively, the Howard Bend treatment plant and the Chain of Rocks treatment plant. Mainly, however, you're drinking the Missouri River water, because even at the Chain of Rocks plant, located near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi, the two rivers have not yet fully mixed. Upon the completion of its construction in 1887, the Chain of Rocks treatment plant was the largest one in the world, and it still, along with its brother, churns out an estimated 150 million gallons every day.
St. Louis water has a sweet aftertaste, one that's subtle and nearly invisible. Start paying attention, however, and its flavor, thought to be "tasteless," takes on a life of its own. Go get some water, straight from the tap, and drink with intent. It hits the tip of your tongue with affection, without any sort of fizz or tang or tart -- just this soft grace. In winter months like now, the beverage requires no refrigeration other than the earth surrounding it. As it passes over the landscape of your taste buds, nothing but cold wet, the best feeling next to hot wet, before passing your gullet and cooling your entire esophagus on its way down to your tummy, air-conditioning everything in its path. Which, granted, will make you cold in the winter, but that doesn't matter, because water consumed at its daily recommended dosage -- eight eight-ounce glasses a day, though that's up for dispute, and contingent upon your metabolism and body weight -- will make you feel alive. Keep gulping it, because your body needs it: A 160-pound male is estimated to contain 104 pounds of water. Ain't that something!?
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