Tim Lacy

When I was a little dude, I would go to a friend of my Aunt Pearl’s in Virginia during the summer.  I was joined by my cousin David and Bobby, the son of the host.  In later years I was surprised to discover that Bobby was Bobby Lewis of “I couldn’t sleep at all last night, tossin’ and turning.”  But, that’s another story.  If you think Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn had a hygiene issue you should have joined our little group.  We spent our days swimming in a muddy creek with the tadpoles and an occasional snake with no thought to the consequences. We were the Three Musketeers.  On Saturday, we would carry water from the creek to a wash tub, where we would bathe (all in the same water), and get rinsed with a hose.  It was then we would put on clean clothes for the week.  The soap we used was homemade and you got used to the itching.  We weren’t poor, we just didn’t waste anything.  You know the song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I guess you are wondering where I am heading with this.  Hang on.

As a young teen, I would go to camp during the summer.  I was a Junior Life Guard at the time, and my bailiwick was rotating between the pool and the lake.  We had canoes and rowboats on the lake, and a guard had to be present.  The water was muddy and my old friend Jake was hanging out in the bushes.  The horse flies were as big as your thumb nail and when they landed on you they took a bite.  We took cold showers on Saturday, but sometimes this was a problem.  We slept in double bunks, and if the kid above you peed in the bed you sometimes had an unwelcome wetness during the night.  Air conditioning was a foreign word, and when we closed our shutters to keep out the rain it got a little ripe in the barracks.  Think about 24 unwashed kids in a closed space.  We never gave it a thought.

Now I am faced with one of those things that make you go “Huh!” We are sending our Olympians to Rio.  This ain’t the Rio of the “Tall and tan and young and lovely girls.” The girls from Ipanema have enough sense to stay home and leave the filthy sand and sludge infested waters to the tourists.

Our government has taken precautions for our athletes by warning them not to submerge their heads in the water.  Are you kidding me?  If you go swimming in a cesspool, some of that water is going to get in your mouth.  The sad thing is the filth is not accidental, it is sewage.  No comment!  On top of this water filth problem they have a blood sucking mosquito that will scare the crap out of Dracula.  And, the very sad part of this for the residents is the fact that the government has spent $12 billion on this project and a good portion of the population is so poor they haven’t seen a loaf of bread this year.

By the way, the U.S. has issued 42,000 condoms to U.S. athletes.  What 19-year-old do you know who is thinking about a medal with a pocket full of rubbers?

I opened this piece with some personal experiences just to let you know I ain’t squeamish and feel qualified to tell you that sending our kids to Rio is a bad idea.


Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO