Did you know that water is good for you? You should drink a lot of water. In fact, you should drink more water than any other beverage. How much water should you drink? Well, that’s up for debate, but let’s say eight glasses of water per day, eight ounces per glass. That’s a lot! Are you drinking enough water? Have you heard about the benefits of water? You should drink more water. It’s good for you.

I don’t really know or care how much water you should be drinking, but I should definitely drink more. I have perpetual acne issues and perpetual headache issues, both of which are solved by better hydration. I’m bad at drinking water. I’ve always been bad at drinking water. I’m not one of those weirdos who don’t like the taste of water (I mean, seriously, what the fuck is that); I’m not addicted to any sugary beverages. I am, quite simply, not good at staying hydrated.

Every six to eight months, I decide that I’m going to get “into” drinking water. I’m going to become one of those people who shows up everywhere with a nalgene. It’s my time. I’m ready.

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Because I am lucky (see also: blessed) enough to live in the 21st century, I have faith that apps will solve all my problems for me. The app in this case is called Plant Nanny, and it is free to download. Its full name is “Plant Nanny - Water Reminder with Cute Plants,” and it is precisely that.

Here is how Plant Nanny works: First, you pick out a plant that you want to raise. In the past six months, I’ve raised every single variety of plant the app offers. I have flowers: roses, carnations, tulips. I have a succulent. I have some fake plants, like whatever a “mushrimp” is supposed to be. I have raised all of these plants with love and kindness. I have also named all of them a variation on “my wife.” I don’t know why I did this. It was stupid at the time, and it’s still stupid now. Moving on, here are some of my wives:

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Once you’ve decided what kind of plant you want to raise, you also determine the daily amount of water you should drink. I have a 16-ounce pint glass set as my norm, because that’s what I drink out of at work and at home; other options range from a coffee mug (10 ounces) to a nalgene (25 ounces). Plant Nanny will calculate how many times you need to fill your container a day––mine says six of those pint glasses, so 96 ounces per day! Wow, okay, I guess that’s a lot of water––and send you push notifications reminding you to drink water. Your plant will grow as you log how much water you drink for about two weeks or so, until your plant is fully grown and you can move it into your garden. Then you get a new plant, and it starts all over again.

Does this sound aesthetically pleasing, with an easy enough interface that would make you want to download it to help you to stay hydrated? It should. I love Plant Nanny. I’m not the type to keep superfluous games and apps on my phone, so the fact that I’ve had this one for half a year should say a lot. Except. Okay. I should add, I think, for the sake of honesty: I’m still not hydrating at all.

Plant Nanny worked for me as intended for, hmm, I don’t know, maybe four days? We can say a week if you’re willing to corroborate on this lie with me. Here is the truth: I am old enough now to know that I will never change. I mean, some things will change. I’ll keep learning how to communicate effectively with my peers and how to buy enough at the grocery store that I’ll be able to feed myself for a week. But I’ll never be someone who makes her bed in the morning, and I’ll never lose 10 pounds, because no one ever has. And on top of all of that, I’ll never be someone who is good at staying hydrated. I’ll keep drinking a lot of coffee and seltzer and juice, which, on any given day, is either a lifesaver or killing you, depending on what website you read.

And yet! AND YET! Here I am, six months down the line, with 14 plants, 14 wives, that I am wholly devoted to. It’s not like I don’t also have real plants in my real life. I have those and I love those, but not like I love my smiling, virtual wives. I have made my own version of Ex Machina on this app, and I don’t know how to free myself from it. Every time I get a push notification from Plant Nanny, I water my plants. I’m never drinking water when I do it. I lie to the app every single day of my life, because I love these plants, and I want as many as I can have. One time I forgot to water a plant for a whole day, and it nearly died. I started up the app, muttering no, no, no like an actor on Grey’s Anatomy does in every episode.

I want to tell you Plant Nanny is worthwhile. I want to tell you Plant Nanny is a good tool for staying healthy. But I can’t, because I still allow myself to get dehydrated and wake up in the middle of the night to get headaches. I want to tell you Plant Nanny made me a better person, and maybe it did, because now I’m filled with unrealistic affection for tiny app plants that smile at me every time I harvest their seeds (which can be used to buy new vases!). I want to tell you to drink as much water as much as you can, because it’s good for you, and you can start making choices that are good for you whenever you want, trust me.


Illustration by Sam Woolley.

Fran Hoepfner is the editorial assistant at ClickHole. She lives and writes tweets in Chicago.