My water bill lately has gone through the roof. Not paying-for-my-daughter’s-college through the roof, but roof enough. So I resolved to get to the bottom of the issue, and then quickly forgot about it for a couple months. Then I got real resolute and decided to monitor my family’s water-related activities.
None of us care too much about the lawn. You’ll never catch us watering it either by hand, using one of those stupid 12-setting ultra-lawn management sprayers, or by automation (i.e., a sprinkler — the positioning is hard enough, let alone getting away from its clothes-soaking maw in time). So that wasn’t the culprit.
On inspecting around the house I found none of the faucets leaked, nor did the toilets. And we have those high-efficiency-water-saving-how’s-that-umm-latest-“delivery”-courtesy-of-my-teenage-son-gonna-go-down toilets. They’re great except they cost an arm and a leg and use so little water you fret every flush that this time’s the time something will go wrong. Speaking of drinking water (our cat! Oh my goodness you though I meant the family drinks toilet water. Shame on you.) We recently decided to get fancy and signed up for one of those water-delivery services. We keep the water cooler in the kitchen, so now I can call it my office. Every morning my wife and I gather around the cooler and gripe about the kids. Neat, but that means hydration isn’t the culprit either. (OMG I’ve become them. I hydrate. I used to drink water. Do I get a raise for being modern?)
Well heck. What else could it be? I’m totally sort of into exercise now, ever since my legs gave out because I was so overweight. The doctor said the extreme pain was due to blah blah blah enormous belly pushing on some nerves at the top of my legs. After some serious meds got me back on my feet, I now walk close to 10 minutes straight. (Before the give-out I could walk a solid five minutes, so it’s probably the meds doing the walking. Hey, it isn’t the time that counts, it’s the, well it is the time. Just shut up.)
I’ve even started tying my shoes instead of slipping them on. After one of my mind-clearing walks I came up empty, exhausted and sweaty as the walk was long (I pushed myself to 11 minutes). So I cooled off and took one of those great Saturday afternoon three-hour naps. Walks or no walks, I’m still completely out of shape, but hey, from the little acorn grew the gigantic weed that doesn’t seem amenable to exercise as a means to getting healthy. Maybe the fact that I think dandelions are pretty has something to do with it. And yes, dandelion soup is a thing. You use the leaves, though, not the flower, which is silly because it’s the pretty flower you’d think would give the soup a pretty hue. I’ve never made dandelion soup. I should. But I digress.
After close to three days trying to crack this water bill nut I gave up. There was only one thing to do — take a shower. I love showers. I always start with my hair, what little is left of it. Telemarketers can’t get to you in the shower. You can’t do chores like paying the bills there. Then move on to my face. You certainly can’t mow the lawn, take out the garbage, find the remote for the third time this week, tuck in your shirt and take some pride in your appearance, or even load the dishwasher. Then my armpits. Showers are pure bliss. And the reverb is perfect. Pavarotti’s a two bit lounge singer compared to me in the shower. Then to my face. The stray thoughts that wander in and out of my head are always, well, thoughtful and inspired. There’s politics; maybe I should run for office (does that count as exercise?). There’s music; guitars are cheap. I should learn rock guitar. Then my armpits. I used to play saxophone in band. I love jazz. I’ll bet with a little practice I could perform again, at least in my living room for the family. Then my face.
Wait a minute. Something’s wrong. I’ve been here before? Déjà vu? The soap looks smaller doesn’t it? Oh for crying out loud I’m stuck in a loop. I’ve been in the shower for at least an hour, at full spray. The water isn’t even hot anymore. Eureka! I’m the culprit. I’m the reason the water bill is so high. Five hour-long showers a week, times eight weeks per billing cycle. My God, that’s a fortune. I’m going to change I tell you. The money I save in just a half a year will be enough to take a short vacation. Maybe me and the wife can stay at a posh hotel downtown, have dinner at a three-star restaurant and catch the symphony. This is going to be great. Then the armpits.
— Ken Schweda
Ken Schweda is the founder and editor of the comedy site Decasp.com. His fiction and humor have appeared in such places as Perihelion SF, Andromeda Spaceways, The Interrobang and the British Comedy Guide.