When I was a boy, I wished I could bring back brilliant people from the past so that I could dazzle them with modern technological marvels. How I yearned to show a moon rocket or a television set to wise old Isaac Newton! Well, I'm quite a bit older now, and I did finally succeed in building a time-transport device. Last week I brought back Benjamin Franklin, the inventor of bifocals and the efficient wood stove. I had given a lot of thought to what I wanted to show him during our five minutes together (the maximum length of visit permitted by the process I invented), and had settled on Times Square at ten o'clock on a Saturday night.
"Well, Ben," I said. "Here we are in 2015 -- that's right, slightly more than three centuries after your birth. This is New York City, believe it or not, and the flashing signs and lighted screens you see on the tremendous buildings all around us are powered by a force you know quite well, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, Ben, they are powered by electricity."
"Those people over there," the eighteenth-century sage replied, a look of puzzlement spreading across his features, so familiar to me from the hundred-dollar bill, among other sources. "And over there. And over there. What are those vessels they are carrying?"
"Vessels?" I said. "Why, those are water bottles, Ben. The people are carrying bottles filled with water."
"Why are they carrying them?"
"They are concerned that they may become thirsty," I patiently explained. "People nowadays are semi-obsessed with being what we call hydrated at all times. They're carrying the water bottles so that they can drink from them whenever they want to, Ben."
Hoping to further spark the imagination of my flabbergasted guest, I pointed to the masses of bright yellow taxi cabs speeding down Broadway, and said, "Ben, have a look at the sleek vehicles racing past us. I don't see any horses pulling them -- do you?"
"Even that old woman has a water bottle," he ejaculated. "And that child. It's extraordinary. Virtually everyone is carrying water! For what conceivable reason?"
That's enough science for one blog post. I'm not a hydration skeptic, unlike Franklin -- who was once described by Firesign Theatre as "the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States" -- but I find water sort of boring to drink, and when I'm playing golf in hot weather I sometimes forget to drink enough, with surprisingly disastrous consequences for my golf. I've gotten much better about that recently, though, by adding one of these things to my water bottle before I tee off:[#image: /photos/55cd23014759c60c082366e3]|||nuunenergy.jpg|||
They're basically extra-large Fizzies with electrolytes and other supposedly good-for-golf stuff in them, and Nuun makes several kinds. The ones I'm using at the moment also contain caffeine and B vitamins -- but no Advil, I'm afraid. Like most things that supposedly make you better at doing things, they taste slightly weird. (If they tasted really good, you wouldn't believed they worked.) I tart them up a little by adding a packet of "crystallized citrus," which I learned about from my wife, the well-known cookbook author: