Tuesday, June 24, 2008

These People Are Jacuzzi Mad

Jacuzzis are ubiquitous in Arkansas. By that I mean, nice hotels have Jacuzzis, smaller B&Bs and inns have Jacuzzis, even budget motels have Jacuzzis. To make matters even more perplexing, Jacuzzis sometimes replace the shower - or if both are offered, the tub may be located in the middle of your hotel room. Right out in the open!

I’m not talking about the honeymoon suite either. What I’m trying to get across is the astonishing fact that even a standard hotel room comes with a Jacuzzi-for-two, and the owners and operators are DARN proud of it. You drive past a locally-owned hotel/motel, and nine times out of 10 “Jacuzzis” will be mentioned on the sign.

Here's the popular "heart shaped" model.

Naturally, I have been scratching my head as to WHY Jacuzzis are so prevalent. At first I theorized that Jacuzzis flourished here because water is plentiful. Heck, it springs from the ground all over the state. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, for example, people have been soaking in spring water as a cure-all for over a century.

Then I thought perhaps it had to do with the populace, and their idea of what a “fancy” amenity was. Did it symbolize status? Decadence? Romance? Finally, I caught wind of a fateful clue. I noticed no one ever said “hot tub,” only “Jacuzzi tub.” That subtle distinction is what led this cultural PI to solve the mystery.

Jacuzzi, as it turns out, is not a made-up word. It’s a family. A very entrepreneurial Italian family with a bunch of brothers. One of the brothers’ inventions (a deep-water injector pump) would turn them into a powerhouse corporation – and a household name. What does that have to do with anything? Well, it was none other than the state of Arkansas that wooed the Jacuzzi brothers (with free land) to open two massive plants in Little Rock.

Suddenly it all made sense. The tubs were made here, so they proliferated here. Plus, the Jacuzzis were hometown heroes. They created jobs and brought prestige to Arkansas way back in the 60s. So people embraced them – big time – and now tourists from every economic strata can rekindle the fire thanks to this state success story.

Now that the case is closed, there’s only one thing left to do. I’m going to fill the Jacuzzi tub, crank the jets and call it a day. With my curiosity relieved, I can finally relax…and admit that I could get used to this.

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