The Old Coot Can’t Find a Terlit

This is a subject that nobody talks about. Yet, it’s a serious problem, has been for decades. We’ve got a “terlit” crisis on our hands, at least that’s how they say it in Brooklyn. 

In the rest of the country, it’s called a rest room crisis. There aren’t any! At least not when you need one. Public rest rooms are scarcer than proverbial hen’s teeth. Our government has turned its’ back on the issue. They’ve thrown us a few bones, there are rest rooms along interstate highways and sometimes we are allowed to use the facilities in municipal buildings, provided we get there on Monday through Friday between nine and five, it isn’t a public holiday, we are wearing a mask and we can make it through the security checkpoint with a nail clipper (or some other deadly weapon) in our pocket. 

But, for the most part, our elected officials have ignored the “terlit” crisis.    

Actually, they haven’t just ignored it; they’ve exacerbated it. They’ve made nature’s call a crime. If there aren’t public “facilities” around and you get caught with your pants down behind a bush, you will be arrested. 

We’ve just finished an election cycle and not a single candidate mentioned the terlit crisis. Politicians have strapped us in our cars, taken cell phones out of our hands, defaced all the products we buy with warning labels and are forcing our favorite restaurants to prepare food in politically correct cooking oil, but they stick their heads in the sand when we ask them, “Can I use the terlit please?” Candidates are promising all kinds of new programs: free health care, $5,000 savings bonds for new babies, 401K accounts, but not one word about what we’re supposed to do when we’ve had three cups of coffee and are looking for a public rest room. 

“Go find a gas station,” they tell us.  

We’re lucky; there is a public rest room in our village (it’s in the same building as the Tioga Visitor Center on Front Street). The town also provides restrooms at Hickories Park. I walk there quite often; it’s a busy place. A lot of walkers, runners, skaters, bikers, sled riders, x-country skiers, picnickers and kids go there. Even in the winter! 

I thought we had a Terlit crisis this fall. The rest rooms were locked, and all the port-o-johns were removed. The whole place became a rest room; find your favorite bush. 

But I was wrong. I called Town Supervisor Don Castellucci to complain, my favorite pastime. He thanked me for the heads up and said he’d check into it and fix it. 

HE DID. The bathroom on the hill in the main campground is heated and open, though the road to it is closed. But, so what; we’re there to get exercise. They also plan to install a port-a john on the other side of the creek, in the vicinity of the dog park. All they need to do is add a message to the bathroom-closed signs that says the one on the hill is open. 

As for the rest of the country, maybe some entrepreneur will come along and figure out that there is money to be made, and a lot of it, by simply opening a chain of public Terlits; like the ones in many European countries. I hope so. I hate to keep asking, “Where’s the Terlit!”

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