Welcome to the 2024 Summer Olympics. I’m your host, Hologram Mayor Menino. Yes, I’m a hologram, but once again I’m having a contract dispute with the firefighters, which is why the Olympic torch is actually a flashlight on a broom handle. “You’re not going to issue the permit?” I said. “I’ll tape a Maglite to a stick, and then we’ll see whether your drug tests screen for maca root.”
Anyway, I’d like to welcome all of the International Olympic Committee officials who helped bring these games to Boston—and one Canadian in particular. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a big hand to Dick Pound, who is a real guy! A real guy who does not even go by Richard, even though that would obviously make his life easier.
I’d also like to extend a warm Boston greeting to all of the coaches from Eastern Europe, whom we’ve put up in the old Bayside Expo Center. The other day a Slovakian wrestling coach came up to me and said, “This place reminds me of my youth behind the Iron Curtain, where the buildings were made of concrete and my toys were made of concrete and I trained by lifting different-sized pieces of concrete. Eventually I could pick up the back of our car, which wasn’t easy, as it was a concrete car.” Then she smiled and offered me a turnip. Or was it a radish? Either way, it was a gesture of international goodwill.
Boston deserved these Olympics, and I’m glad we’re getting the chance to show off our venues. Some people said we didn’t have enough room to accommodate all the events, but I think we’re proving that wrong. Fenway Park, for instance, is hosting archery, dressage and judo, all at the same time. It’s an efficient use of space, and it’s gonna work fine as long as everyone keeps their head on swivel. It’s definitely going to get tricky during Red Sox home games, but we did a dry run and only one guy tried to wrestle a horse.
I know we goofed on a few of our original proposals, and in retrospect the bottom deck of the Common Garage would’ve been a bad place to hold the trampoline competition. But I think all the swimmers are really going to like the Harbor, which is pretty much like a big ice-cold pool with boats and fish in it. You win a gold for synchronized swimming while steering clear of the Hingham ferry, and that’s really an Olympic performance.
I’m also excited about the new events that are specific to Boston. We’ve got Moving On Sept. 1, where the athletes have to rent a U-Haul truck and move the contents of an apartment across town while 50,000 other people simultaneously try to do the exact same thing. It’s a test of stamina, mental composure and outright meanness. And we’ve got the Common Triathlon, where athletes swim the Frog Pond, sprint along Tremont while avoiding hot T smells and then play Frisbee on the Common, even though there are kind of already a lot of people sitting on the grass. How many times will they have to say “Oops, sorry”? I can’t wait to find out.
OK, a few housekeeping notes. First of all, I’d like to thank all the suburbanites who took vacation, thus ensuring that traffic flows smoothly. Or at least, it will if every commuter who took vacation stays home instead of coming to see the biggest spectacle of their lifetimes. You’ll stay home, right? If you do venture into the city, please use one of our dedicated Olympics Lanes on the highways, which will route you directly to a convenient parking area just outside Pawtucket. From there, shuttles will then take you to the Cape. We told you: You’re going on vacation. Get the idea? Just because I’m a hologram doesn’t mean I forgot how to play hardball.
Looking ahead a little bit, before we know it the Boston Games will be in the history books. And then we’ll have a conundrum, because there’s nothing more depressing than Olympic infrastructure after the Olympics is over. In Beijing a few years ago, they still had the Olympic Village set up for people to visit. It’s like you had a party and now people are stopping by to look at the empties and your buddy Smitty passed out on the couch. It’s over! Get on with your life. That’s why the second this thing’s wrapped up, we’re tearing it all down. Except for the Bayside Expo Center. We actually tried to demolish that place years ago, and it broke all the bulldozers. They made it out of really strong concrete.
Well, enough from me. It’s time to meet our 2024 Olympic mascot. Please join me in a big round of applause for Pissa, the Grouchy Lobster.