What’s so smart about it?

The little old lady put down a plastic bottle of water on the counter. It said “Smart Water” on it. We’ve all seen this stuff. It’s everywhere. There’s some big marketing bucks behind it.

“What’s so smart about it?” she asked the cashier. She seemed confused. She’d already been back and forth to the cooler a couple times while we waited. No big deal. No one was in a hurry. There was a neighbourly atmosphere.

“I’m not sure,” the cashier said amiably. “I think it’s just water.”

“But why’s that ‘smart’?”

“Maybe it’s smart to drink water?” We all grinned. Good answer. But the aged customer wanted a real answer:

“Well, there’s got to be something different about it.”

“Mind if I have a look?” I said. She had a point, and I was a bit curious. I picked up the bottle. An athletic guy in line after me looked over my shoulder as I read aloud (with slightly thespian flourish):

Inspired by the clouds! We took our cue from nature, then added electrolytes for a distinct taste. The result is pure and crisp, like from a cloud.

Whoa. Everyone let that sink in, a rare moment of shared public contemplation. And then I broke the spell by saying, “Sounds like bullshit!”

Everyone laughed. No one expected me to say “bullshit” to that nice little old lady. Surprise: that’s the secret to comedy. As the laughter died down, the little old lady grabbed the bottle and confidently pushed it towards the cashier and said, for the win:

“I’ll take the bullshit.”