Will Bontrager
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The Conservationist

(Links to more popcorn stories.)

While reminiscing about my time in the US Navy, I recalled the 3-minute shower that was encouraged aboard the aircraft carrier where I was stationed. It was to conserve fresh water, which had to be distilled from the ocean we were floating on. This story sprang from that.

The Conservationist

"Son, this is how you save water on showers."

"Yes, I know. You learned the 3-minute shower technique in the Navy. And you've told me about it several thousand times."

"Well, this time, I'll teach you something new. The 2-minute shower technique."

"There's no way a person can get clean with a 2-minute shower."

"Well, it's like this. The 3-minute shower gives you a minute to wet down. With the 2-minute shower technique, you need less than 3 seconds."

"You can't wet down in 3 seconds!"

"Fold the wash cloth over the soap. Open the faucet. Soak the wash cloth. Close the faucet. About 2 seconds, maybe 3."

Dad continued. "Now, use the wash cloth to wet down.

"You see, by the time you're damp all over, the soap will have permeated the surface of the wash cloth. Remove the bar of soap and use the wash cloth to soap yourself.

"Now, use 2-minutes to rinse off, just like you would with a 3-minute shower."

"Well, Dad, I can see how that might work. But it's a whole lot of trouble just to save one minute of water flow."

"Think of it this way. Opening the faucet for 2 minutes and 3 seconds versus an entire 3 minutes is a 31% savings. 31% is a good chunk."

"OK, Dad." Then, "Angie is waiting for me."

He walked into the next room, closing the door behind him.

And said, "Angie, the old coot is so stingy he's teaching me how to save a minute of water in the shower. Oofda!"

"I heard," said Angie. "The door was open."

Just then, a broadcast arrived from the city. "The water situation deteriorates. All citizens must restrict themselves to 3 minutes of shower no more than twice a day."

Angie looked straight at her husband. "If you tell the mayor you can save 31% more water per shower, at no cost to anybody, the city might give you a good chunk of money for the privilege of hearing about it."

"Of course," she continued, "living in the same house like we do, your dad would find out and you would have to admit he's right."

She laughed at his consternation.

After coming to terms with himself, he said, "But I'm not going to mention putting soap in the wash cloth. That doesn't save any water!"

Meanwhile, in the other room:

"Why did you tell him to wrap the wash cloth around the soap?"

"Well, drinking buddy, he always needs something to reject so he can accept the rest."

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