Unnatural flavors, puzzling punctuation and bat bikes

Unnatural flavors, puzzling punctuation and bat bikes

Dear Rachel,

I’m drinking one of those off-brand bubbly waters right now, and I’m just puzzled by the ingredients list. Zero percent juice, of course, but natural flavors. If the flavors came from the fruit in question, I would have to think there would be some percent juice. Are the flavors naturally from something else entirely? Or is this a case of rounding error, where 0.025 percent juice means just call it zilch and be done with it?

– Thrown for a Fruit Loop

Dear Nosey,

Did you know that there really is no industry standard definition for what “natural” means? It’s true! It certainly doesn’t mean “occurs naturally in nature,” because I’ve never had a banana or watermelon candy that tastes like, you know, banana or watermelon. And what the frig is a blue raspberry anyway? It’s all just a nice euphemism for “manufactured chemical flavoring.” If you want truly natural bubbly water, you have to find it at the source.

– Burp, Rachel


Dear Rachel,

We interrupt our work day to email you. One of us was typing away, when all of a sudden a certain word processing program started formatting every punctuation mark with this excessive space after it. I’   m talking like this. It’   s annoying, right? I thought it was my computer, but I said something out loud and my (home) office mate said “THAT’   S HAPPENING TO ME TOO!” I don’t even know how to begin googling a problem like this. But what are the odds we’d both get it?

– Glitches in the Matrix

 

Dear Whoopsies,

Did you both get your Covid vaccines? Because if it’s a word (ahem) processing program from a certain philanthropist billionaire’s company, then you got the Microsoft chips floating around in your system. And as you know, Microsoft programs are guaranteed to work fine until precisely the moment you expect them to do what they say they will do. I’m waiting for half the human population to have to install updates right before some big presentation.

– Please wait, Rachel


Dear Rachel,

I pulled out my bike this week and rode for the first time since the world ended last year. Yeah yeah, I know I don’t belong here if I can go that long without riding. But I figured I’d still have some residual abilities, right? WRONG. Ten miles and the next day I was walking like a bat. Have you ever seen a bat walk? Exactly. Any particular tips for a born-again newbie?

– Starting Over

Dear Feels Like the First Time,

Actually, I have seen a bat walk. Well, sorta. It was probably halfway to death when I saw it in a friend’s garage. I actually thought it was a toad, or it would have scared me halfway to death too. But then I took pity on it, trapped it inside a five-gallon bucket, and let it go outside. Maybe you just need to let yourself go, too. Though it sounds like you already have. Maybe you just need a better sports drink mix. Don’t use the bubbly stuff. It’s only got, like, 0.025 percent electrolytes.

– Saddle up, Rachel

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