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The Real Reason We Need The Olympics

Some supporters of Boston 2024 tout the economic benefits and the prestige. Sharon Brody has a more basic reason. Herewith, she flushes out her alternative rationale. (Charles Krupa/AP)
Some supporters of Boston 2024 tout the economic benefits and the prestige. Sharon Brody has a more basic reason. Herewith, she flushes out her alternative rationale. (Charles Krupa/AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Well, what have we here? The United States Olympic Committee has chosen Boston for the U.S. bid to host the 2024 Summer Games. We’re up against other cities around the world, and come 2017 we'll learn whether or not the Hub of the Universe gets the nod.

Some locals await the decision with fingers crossed. For me, the key is crossed legs.

Olympics! Bring it! So for @#$%'s sake we can finally get some public bathrooms!

This is a singularly inhospitable burg to people who are not wearing diapers.

Maybe?

Please?

Thank you.

The need for public bathrooms is just not that hard to understand. Unless, apparently, you are in charge of providing them in and around the 617.

Let’s make this simple. Boston is a city. A city is public. The public is made up, primarily, of humans. Humans are — fun fact! — made up of something like 60 percent water. Healthy adult humans need to shed some of that water up to 10 times a day. (Miniature humans, well, don’t get me started.) As a society we not only frown upon but also outlaw humans “going to the bathroom” without the benefit of an actual, you know, bathroom.

So, where to go?

In Boston, the answer is... not here.

This is a singularly inhospitable burg to people who are not wearing diapers.

Other cities, towns, regions, countries and probably planets… they get it. They set up bathrooms in places where people congregate — especially in places where they specifically have lured crowds to congregate for purposes of tourism and commerce and recreational activities and drinking. These structures are paid for by the government or private industry or intergalactic aliens, whatever. And these sponsoring entities fork over whatever dough it takes for these facilities to stay open and reasonably non-disgusting most of the time. It can be done. I am an eyewitness.

In Boston? The latest statistics show we have one public toilet per 13 gobzillion people (give or take a gobzillion).

And, of course, I dare you to enter almost any local establishment and try to use a bathroom “for customers only.” Bam. Booted before you can say ‘But I’m pregnant!”

The thought has crossed my mind — at moments when my pesky bladder and I are sneaking into some barbwired restricted-access restroom — that this is insane.

There’s a reason we’re known as the land of wicked pissa.

Welcome to Boston! We have sights to see, and we want seers of sights, but once you show up, then hold it! Hold it right there! Keep holding it!

We are like the grandparental milieu with which I have some familiarity in Florida. Kvetching 358 days a year about how the kids never visit, and then the instant the cherubs turn up for a week it’s “No bouncing balls! No diving! Stop running! Stop playing! Quiet down! GO AWAY!”

Obviously, Boston’s inexcusable gap in toilet infrastructure is not news. I, personally, have wasted years of my life on lamenting the lapses. So sure, go ahead, dismiss me as a one trick pony. But if that pony's one trick is to grab the Olympics as a hook for scoring a place to pee after I've been so unwise as to sip a bottle of water while strolling downtown on a summer afternoon, then so be it.

It’s a mystery why Boston alone evolved to revel in denying relief to the loo-seeking contingent. A culture formed by Puritanism? By Yankee thrift? By absent-minded professors? Who knows? I mean, one might think a metropolis also known for its internationally acclaimed hospitals would understand a little something about biology. One might think wrong.

The tourism pages of Boston’s government website offer no answers, but do add to the hilarity:

The City of Boston hosts over 12 million annual visitors from across the country and around the globe. This vibrant, thriving city is renowned for its cultural facilities, world-class educational institutions, champion sports franchises, as well as its place at the very forefront of American history. Tourism is one of New England's largest industries; as the region's social and commercial "hub", Boston is willing to accommodate and entertain you as few other cities can.

“As few other cities can,” indeed. Because only Boston lets you entertain yourself by wondering how long you can possibly last until you find accommodations.

What with its burgeoning rep as a legit destination, Boston’s the definition of all dressed up with no place to go.

What with its burgeoning rep as a legit destination, Boston’s the definition of all dressed up with no place to go.

The Olympics are a game changer. We must not squander this opportunity. The top sporting event on earth requires more than a few extra rows of porto-potties. We can’t very well host millions of Olympic spectators without building permanent, attractive, accessible, gold-medal-worthy johns.

Would a Boston Olympics in 2024 be brilliant or rubbish? Haven’t a clue. Right now, legs crossed, I am all about the bathrooms.

Let’s make these Olympics happen, people! Or else we’re stuck adopting the civic slogan I came up with as soon as I moved here: “Boston. Ya shoulda gone before ya left home.”

Related:

Sharon Brody Twitter News Anchor
Sharon Brody is the voice of WBUR's weekend mornings. On Saturdays and Sundays, she anchors the news for Weekend Edition and other popular programs.

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