1. Starbug2
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    Starbug2 Member

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    World idea: Everyone drinks alcohol instead of water.

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by Starbug2, Mar 18, 2016.

    DISCLAIMER: I am in no way making light of alcoholism, and I do NOT intend to offend anyone struggling with this. It's just a fictional premise for academic sake.

    I would like to see your flash fiction take on this premise.

    So... I was wondering what would it be like to write a story where society has somehow evolved to only drinking alcohol, and never water. There would probably be people who were looked down on for drinking water. So I decided to make a journal entry of one of those such people...

    "Waterism"

    I have a confession to make. Please, don't judge me, but.. I secretly drink water. Yes, I know it's bad for you, it's only for cleaning and washing up. Sometimes I pour out my bottle of whiskey and replace it with water. I'm usually not caught unless someone wants me to share with them. I can't help myself. I'm addicted to the feeling I get when I stop drinking. My brain comes alive and I feel more alert, aware, focused.

    I've been to countless meetings; you know, the ones that explain how the body NEEDS a certain percentage of alcohol to function correctly, and how water washes away all of your vital nutrients. Each week I leave, thinking that maybe this time I'll get my life back together, and get on the road to recovery. It never works. I think my friends and family are starting to notice the changes taking place in me. Even as I write this, I'm holding a glass of water. Screw it.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, I've often read that in medieval times, low-proof alcohol was the drink of choice, because the water wasn't safe. I don't know for sure if it's true, but there it is.
     
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  3. Starbug2
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    Starbug2 Member

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    I've heard that too...I realize that this isn't necessarily an entirely new concept, but I feel like mine has a slightly new twist because it's in modern times, and everyone drinks the hard stuff.
     
  4. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    I could go to prison if I were caught. The penalty for moving water across borders is a life sentence. It's all worth it though. These crazy water addicts will pay any price for the sweet, mountain spring water I provide.


    Sorry, that's all I've got today, but I love this prompt.
     
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  5. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    fair enough (I didn't write this but this was relevant)

     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
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  6. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    See also: Dwarf Fortress

    But really, this could actually work. I mean, you'd need to think about it a bit, but, water without any minerals (completely pure water) is actually dangerous to drink and can literally sap the minerals out of your body. If the only thing in the world that was drinkable was alcohol (I imagine with a pretty low alcoholic content) then you could have an actual story there.
     
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  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Give me a drink, gimme your sweet wet wadda, your daughter of the lake, slate my longing for the loins of water falling down my manly chest. hmm.

    But as Chickenfreak says you would drink 'small beer' in times past, due to safety of fermentation over typhoid pond. The water thing is trodden enough, eh...future where water is as oil..? But your post was funny, bravo.
     
  8. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    I could see that actually as being a plausible world. I would imagine that the stigma would be that you were considered poor if you drink water.
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    So...people drink alcohol, get dehydrated, drink more alcohol, get more dehydrated, drink more alcohol, and die?
     
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  10. TheRealStegblob
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    TheRealStegblob Active Member

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    It's because the distilling process kills bacteria in the water, meaning the finished beer/wine was fairly sanitized. It wasn't just in the middle ages, as short ago as the 1800's beer was safer than most city's drinking water. In fact, some scientists believe making early beer is pretty much the only reason we advanced as a species so quickly.
     
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  11. Starbug2
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    Starbug2 Member

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    I was thinking that humans adapted over the centuries so that excessive alcohol wasn't as bad for you
     
  12. Chris_Bryant
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    Chris_Bryant Member

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    As for the Medieval period, this is a common belief, but one that doesn't tend to hold water.

    Most people had access to generally clean drinking water in the middle ages. In such an agrarian economy, the common sources of fresh water - wells, rivers, streams - were used mostly by small local populations. Wells accessed water tables that were not easily polluted - unless people were to directly pollute the wells, something that was punishable in most places, since wells were often a town's most direct source of drinking water.

    In fact, there was much more danger of a well running dry, than of water becoming polluted.

    In cities, pollution and waste was sometimes a problem, especially during heavy rains or flooding. But currents would draw most of the waste away, and practices such as dumping downstream were used. Again in these more heavily populated areas, wells were the source of safe drinking water, for the same reasons wells were used anywhere.

    It was well known that odorous water was bad to drink, and if it was necessary to use, to boil it first.


    I would posit that this is not true.

    Fermented drinks were certainly popular, but more because of the variety they represented, and in the case of beers, especially those made with barley, there were nutritional and caloric benefits to drinking beer daily or even more frequently. Beers for a long time were unfiltered, allowing the mash and the sediment to be drunk with the liquid.

    Most cities had various methods of making clean water available. Again, wells were the preferred methods, as the water tables would be hard to reach in order to pollute, except through the well itself. Also, cisterns to catch rainwater were common in places where rain was common enough. Clean water was recognized as essential and rather a bit of effort was put into obtaining it, if other sources were undesirable, such as London's "Great Conduit".

    It was actually the 19th century outbreak of cholera that signaled the period when London had finally grown too large for its contemporary water supply.

    Sources:

    http://leslefts.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/the-great-medieval-water-myth.html



     
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  13. TheRealStegblob
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    TheRealStegblob Active Member

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    Lol, what? Your own sources agree with me.

    I never said no one drank water or that 'all water was bad' or something, I said that the alcohol (boiled and treated with hops) was safer to drink. In fact, when cities like New York suffered from outbreaks of cholera, alcohol was safer even than just boiled water.
     
  14. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    This is really great stuff @Chris_Bryant. Next time though can you just copy and paste the whole text? It's standard to just put it in quotes on this forum instead of inside a media box. I'd like to read the whole thing, but the way the element is formatted I can't.

    But like I said, pretty goddam cool.
     
  15. Chris_Bryant
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    Chris_Bryant Member

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    I read this sentence to mean that up until the 1800's alcoholic beverages were safer than water in most cities. My sources place that a trend of unsafe city water begin in the 19th century, when urban density finally outstripped the supplies of clean water.

    Ah, thank you. Now I know! I'll be sure to edit my earlier posts. I hadn't realized they'd be cut off in the formatting.
     
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