Monday, November 3, 2008

Perfect Water and imperfect ribs at the street fair

I don't see "snake oil" anywhere on the ingredients list.

The perfect Perfect Water stand, first stop on our day at the street fair.

I think the man is showing me where the water comes out.
Does that give it calcium?

My wife and I wandered by the local street fair and, lo and behold, a healthy new beverage was being offered. A high oxygen bottled water, scientifically designed to put pep back in your step and make your stiffy less whiffy. I've always been a fan of water, namely because my body is almost ten percent water - concentrated in the knees.

A kind gentleman offered to PROVE to me that his water could improve me physically with just one tiny cupful, in less than a minute. He also told me that a hospital was doing studies about how great Perfect water is because it helped CANCER patients by making their chemotherapy less bothersome. That's incredible! I plan to have cancer one day and asked for more information. Unfortunately, the gentleman couldn't remember which hospital was doing the study, I guess this magic water doesn't help the memory so much, eh? He told me that the manufacturer has used SCIENCE to insert extra oxygen into the water molecule. Exciting stuff, that science - kids love it.

My wife had made plans for us to meet some folks at a movie, so I wasn't allowed to linger long over this liquid marvel. However, I did take the three step test which PROVES that this magic water immediately improves your body.

Test 1, right when I get gut kicked by a karate little person.

Test 1: The guy moved me off to one side of his tent, undoubtedly afraid it could be toppled during the vigorous physical demonstrations to come. He asked me to touch my toes, which I did. If I may say so, for a doughy guy I'm pretty flexible. I did this once. I could've done it more, but he didn't ask me to.

Test 2, I'm sure my face is that way because
I was photographed in the middle of saying something witty.

Test 2: I am told to flex my waist. I got excited as I was confused by the homonym, but no, I am made to stick out my arms and pivot my waist to see how far I can reach one arm behind me.

Test 3: This is the big one, what he called the "tip" test. The guy cozies up next to me, makes a fist with his arm straight down and has me hook my hand underneath his. At first I thought we were about to do another homonym, but instead he "tips" me by pushing down on his arm. He pushes his arm down, pushing my hand down, which makes me rock over toward him a bit where he leans up against me so I won't fall. He sits me back up and they hand me a tiny cup of water.

As we will come to see, this man is a master of the dark art of illusion. Illllllusion (wave both hands in the air in front of listener). So let's stop and guess what he's going to try to prove from these tests. 1... 2... 3... No, don't answer out loud, just think it over. I knew what was coming when he asked me to touch my toes just once.

The water. The magic. "The Ultimate Fluid to Empower Your Body and Mind". Perfect Empowered Drinking Water. I am given some in a little blue cup, it has no smell. They all laugh when I smell it. I drink it, it tastes like distilled water. Because I am too ignorant to feel my new super powers flow through me, the man now will complete his test and prove I'm now a better person.

Test 1a: I am told to touch my toes again. Knowing full well the trick, I refuse to touch any further than where I touched before. Everybody in the world knows that you don't have your full flexibility till you limber up a bit. It stands to reason that I will be slightly more flexible on the second stretch than the first. When I stall out at the same place, the guy tells me to stretch further and see if I can touch the ground - he didn't do that the first time. During Test 1 he told me to touch the tips of my sneakers and stop there.

Test 2a, that woman behind me works for the
Perfect Water people.She's telling me that
I turned further this time than last,
if you look at the photo for Test 2 you'll see
that she's not even behind me.
For shame.

Test 2a: To test their scientific rigor, I twist to the right instead of the left this time. They don't correct me, thus invalidating their carefully constructed control situation. That, and see Test 1a. The woman standing behind me cheers that I twisted much further than before, even though I pointedly did not, and she hadn't been there the first time to see.

Test 3a, I'm ashamed to even look.

Test 3a: This is where, we slip across that tricky line from silly to fraud. I strike the fist in hand pose and the guy pushes down again, tilting me slightly toward him, but THIS TIME I DON'T TIP! It's absolutely the most unnatural thing I've ever encountered, positively eerie. I mean I DIDN'T TIP OVER, but of course that wasn't the eerie part. I didn't tip over because the man was standing much closer this time and leaned against me with his shoulder so I wouldn't move any further than he wanted me to. What was so unnatural was this grey haired old fellow being so deceitful, perpetrating a fraudulent scientific test worthy of a snake oil salesman. Oh wait, I've been having grey haired old men tell me lies my entire life. Maybe that's why I didn't react with surprise and anger.

It was kind of neat to be there first hand for something so sneaky, to be told a bald-faced lie in person instead of through the television. To personally witness a "scam". I was wondering what would follow, but all they said they wanted was my email address which no one proceeded to take. Did they detect the savvy look in my eye, or were the two old ladies behind me better targets? Do they try to sell oil shares to the more gullible? I've been wanting to pick up a bridge.

Because the folks working this booth were so shady, I am going to pointedly say that everything I'm writing and have written is MY OPINION. I'm not going to assert as a fact that these people actually lie, cheat, or seek to defraud by misleading trickery but that is merely my interpretation of their actions. I'm not going to say that anyone so sleazy as to pull stunts like this would probably try to sue for supposed defamation, provided they were willing to show their snakey heads in a courtroom.

Houdini style, I will invite them to present these tests again, under controlled circumstances. I will bring a few people in rented lab coats to make up facts to oppose their made-up tests. I would love to see FACTS which can be drawn out from that wonderful "tip" test.

Folks, water is good for you. It's true. I'd suggest you drink it in almost any form or flavor outside of "sea". The Perfect water test is a poorly thought out deception, and if it wasn't old people administering it I'd've told them so loudly. Of course, if they were strapping young men I wouldn't have told them off, either. The water doesn't instill courage.

Fortunately, I was wearing my disguise that day - dopey fake beard, false glasses with novelty nose attached, and a derbie masquerading as a cap. Next time I see a street fair I'll find them and take the test again, then ask the sort of quick-cutting questions one expects of a blog like this. The most important being: What is test 3 actually trying to prove? Wha? It's so odd as to refute any sort of logical sequence that could lead one to wondering anything about it.

So this is a fair and there are many folks wanting to separate you from your money here, I won't focus in one just this one shyster but skip along to the important bit. More food. After wending our way through obnoxiously loud DJ booths and bad cover bands, past carpet sales booths and so, so many sausage stands, I bought a portion of ribs and a sweet tea.

I put the little black bar on there
to protect the identity of that awful sweet tea.

I asserted earlier that great sweet tea was had from bbq restaurants. I'll stick to that by insisting that a stand is not a restaurant. The tea I bought was watery powder mix, with a lemon in it. Not great sweet tea. Not at all. In fact, it was barely drinkable.

The ribs, however, were very good for what was there. Not very meaty for their size or price, the bulk of the piece I was given was that nightmare of bones that all the ribs attach to. That mess that looks like half an alien face hugger after you pick that meat off. Not enough meat, but the glazing and the bits were good. Really good. NOT as good as my home-made over ribs, which is saying a lot as these actually came out of a real smoker.

There were only about four bites this big in the whole cut.

I will assure you that after eating these ribs, no old fellow selling snake oil could tip me over easily. My center of gravity had found a new low, not to mention I was still full of ribs from the time before. Does Perfect Water have fiber in it? I could sure use some of that.

When I mentioned Olde Cape Cod BBQ sauce before,
I lefte the "e" offe of Olde. Howe thoughtlesse.


  1. Those water people ought to try it out on James Randi - there are some good YouTube clips of him proving that some people are allegedly...snake-oily.

    [Note - I tried to post this as my Google profile persona, i.e. Lidian, but when I was asked for the magical Captcha letters they were - invisible! I could not captcha them. perhaps the Perfect Water people made them disappear!]

  2. James Randi makes me scream like a little girl and flutter my hands in excitement. He's the best. THE BEST. I have a bunch of his books and peek on on the web stuff when I remember. Maybe that's why I grew the beard.

    And bravo on reading the long entry through. Even I didn't bother to do that.