“This is Dasani Water,” by Alex Connolly and Ginny Hogan

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

The following has been reprinted from a commencement speech given by Hyman L. Morrell, Senior V.P. of Marketing at the Coca-Cola Company, at his alma mater, Villanopo College.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the Dasani water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is Dasani water?”

It’s a good question. Dasani water is the purest, most refreshing water on the market.

The point of the fish story is that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. But they can also have life or death importance.

It’s true. If you don’t drink water, you could very well die.

Because we all have to drink. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as not drinking. Everybody drinks. The only choice you get is what to drink.

Imagine a typical day in the adult world. Your mom just died. Your son just died. Your dog took a shit. Your grandma just died. The producers of MTV’s Catfish just told you your boyfriend is actually a bored housewife in Alberta, CN. And on top of that, you’re stuck in traffic on the way to your most fulfilling errand—your weekly bottled water run.

So you finally get to the grocery store, and your phone rings. Guess what? Your other grandma just died. You didn’t even know she existed—you’d always been told that your father was the result of asexual reproduction.

This is a lot to process, and some pure, distilled bottled water sure would help. But you look at the available options and it looks like everything costs $7. Also—boxes of water? Boxes? Like the things that contain the belongings of your dead family members? You don’t need that energy at the grocery store. Not on a Monday.

You’re in a rush, so you think, “I’ll just skip the water. I don’t need it. I can’t afford it. I’ll just take a lot of showers to keep myself hydrated from the outside.” You know what happens next?

You die. Or worse, it hurts to pee, because you’re dehydrated.

You have to drink water. But you don’t have to settle for bank-breaking designer brands. And you definitely don’t have to carry around a refillable water bottle. Those things might be manufactured with slave labor—we can’t know for sure.

What you need is a pure, refreshing bottled water at an affordable price. Where can you turn? Big corporations won’t help you much. They hum merrily along selling water of questionable purity, branded as “natural” by its association with some exotic location like “Fiji” or “Poland.”

Or they tell you that your water needs to be “Smart.” But if you worship being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Basically you’ll look really dumb drinking that stuff, no offense.

We don’t need to drink smart-ly—we just need to drink consciously. Conscious of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

“This is Dasani water.”

“This is Dasani water.”

We wish you way more than water. We wish you Dasani.

We also wish you our condolences on the multiple family deaths.


Alex Connolly has been a contributor to The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and Ginny Hogan’s twitter (he wrote that one good joke). It hurts him that people have turned his favorite writer into a punchline these days, even though that is also what he and Ginny did in this piece.


Ginny Hogan is an LA-based writer and comedian. She’s the author of Toxic Femininity in the Workplace.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.