I just love Fiji bottled water. People always say stuff like, “That’s so stupid! It’s just water!” and you get the same old tired arguments about wasting money, wasting plastic. It’s like every time I go to the store and buy a bottle of Fiji water, I can’t help but detect a look of disdain from whoever’s working the register. He’s like, “Anything else?” and I catch his eye, he’s making a weird face at me, and that tone of voice, the way he said “anything else,” is he mocking me? Hey buddy, if you’ve got a problem with my choices a consumer, why don’t you say something to my face instead of lacing all your forced little interaction with almost imperceptible contempt? Almost imperceptible. I’m very perceiving. Just, listen guy, next time, don’t say “anything else,” because if I want something else, I’ll let you know, all right? I’m not shy. “Nothing else, thanks.” “$4.99.”
People just don’t understand. They just don’t get Fiji bottled water. Yes, it is worth the price. It’s a premium product and you’re paying a little extra for it. Frankly, I think that, considering everything that you’re getting when you buy a bottle of Fiji, it’s not even that expensive. Before you even open it up, your eyes are rewarded by getting to look at that bottle. It’s square. That’s unusual, you might say. Already, your curiosity has been piqued. And no, I’m not just talking about people who’ve never seen a Fiji bottle before. I see at least twenty every day, and I still get that same reaction, my heart gets filled with just the slightest hint of mysterious apprehension, like, ooh, a square bottle, and my pulse starts to quicken, maybe my heart skips a beat.
And I think of all of the other “premium” waters out there, your Evians, your Pellegrinos. How utterly pedestrian. A plain bottle. Some generic looking label. No thank you. But the Fiji bottle – did I mention it’s a square bottle? – it’s got this label on the inside, like you can only see it through the bottle. Like the bottle is looking through you, too. It makes the Fiji logo sort of pop out of the background, and it transcends just the visual, it’s like, when I say it pops, it’s actually popping. Pop! My whole audio-visual cortex is just alive, synapses on fire, going crazy with delightful stimuli. The back inside label is a work of art in and of itself. It’s this lush tropical scene. I imagine the real Fiji is just like the paradise the label portrays. I’ve never been there, but I don’t think I’ll ever go. I wouldn’t want to be disappointed.
And the water. We haven’t even gotten to the water yet, and I almost hesitate every time I’m about to open a bottle. Dare I disturb the perfection that lies within? Does my insatiable thirst even warrant but a few drops of this precious life-giving elixir? Ultimately I can’t hold my desire back any longer, I cave in, I twist open the bottle and drink heartily from the font of Fiji.
What does Fiji taste like? If you’re asking this question, all I can say is, you ignorant fool. I’ve actually said that. One time I was at a pizza place ordering a slice. “Anything to drink?” the guy asked me. “Fiji,” I pointed to the fridge behind him. He kind of looked confused, turned the bottle back and forth in his hands a few times before putting it on the counter. “I don’t get it,” he started talking at me, “What’s so good about this stuff? Why do you want to pay five bucks for water?”
And I just stared at him, “You ignorant fool,” I started, before restraining my anger. I realized, this might be an opportunity, to shed light upon ignorance. But what could I possibly say? How do you begin to describe that which the English language is simply incapable of communicating? I tried, “It’s like … imagine you’re floating through a cloud … no, imagine that you are the cloud …” And then the phone rang, he held out a finger to me and was like, “Hello? Pizza place.” By the time he was done, he said, “Next!” and looked right to the lady behind me.
Someday I’ll have enough money to bathe in Fiji water, but for now I’ll have to live with just drinking it, using it to brush my teeth, occasionally moistening my toilet paper with its gentle touch. Fiji is more than a bottle of water. It’s something, an idea, an aspiration, everything that’s right with humanity, all of the beauty in the world turned to darkness and then soaked with Fiji to become something better, something more beautiful, more radiant than ever before, than ever imaginable. Fiji be to you, my friends, to your family. Fiji be to all.