I tried a combat shower

Akash Nair M S
2 min readApr 30, 2020
Photo by Chase @jiggiemon Wilson on Unsplash

Crowd control is a documentary series hosted by Daniel Pink on National Geographic. Pink, an expert in human behavior and motivation engages in different experiments for altering habits in humans. In one of the episodes, he is roped in by a father of 4 teenage girls for helping him with a solution for the showdown that happens every morning for using the shower. Both the parents have been finding it challenging to get ready in the morning since the bathroom is occupied for a prolonged period of time.

Pink recommends a US Air force veteran to the father for disciplining his daughters.

The veteran shows up with a simple idea: combat showers.

He fixes the shower setup in the backyard of the house for the 4 girls and runs them through the drill.

A combat shower is divided into two main stages and takes around 90 seconds to complete. The first stage is washing the body for 30 seconds, cutting off the water supply to lather, and followed by 60 seconds of rinsing.

On average, all 4 girls used to spend 7–10 minutes in the shower, and it was a pleasant surprise for the parents to see them complete in under 2 minutes. Despite realizing a shower could be completed in one-third of the usual time, the girls weren’t ready to give up their shower time. So, technically, it wasn’t a solution to the parents’ woes.

But, I was excited about trying and I learned the below lessons:

  1. Water conservation is super easy and doesn’t require groundbreaking innovation and policy changes by world leaders. People just need to shower within a set time limit.
  2. Observed a profound increase in the value of water. I have never faced a water shortage in my life, and it made me empathize with people who don’t have the luxury of opening a tap to release water whenever they want.
  3. Focused on the outreach of the soap, rather than lathering mindlessly. Since I was acutely aware of the amount of water I would have for rinsing my body, I went easy on the amount of soap.

Despite having learned the above lessons, I am certain, like the 4 girls, I would have days when I might spend more time under the shower since I won’t be on a war footing. But, as portrayed in the climax of the Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, the next major war may not be for crude oil or data, but it will be for water- the true elixir of life.