Boston, Column, Metro

Absurd Suggestions For Boston’s New Time Capsule

When you take down a golden lion statue that has perched atop Boston’s Old State House, what do you get?

A time capsule, of course. Because no American city is as singularly obsessed with preserving its historical significance as Boston. (See: generally obese and/or freakishly tall men in colonial dress guiding confused tourists through the Common during a sunny day while people—namely, me—try to eat their lunch in peace. Or observe the gaggles of teenagers that somehow find it appropriate to take selfies in front of tombstones—centuries old or not, that’s a person under there.)

The golden lion was one of two statues—the other being a unicorn—that have graced the top of the Old State House since 1901. While the contents of the time capsule have not yet been revealed, the Bostonian Society is already accepting suggestions from the public regarding what will be put into a new time capsule, so that Bostonians of the future can know what it was like here in the 21st century. Suggestions for the new capsule can be submitted via email, Facebook, or Twitter, using the hashtag #LionAndUnicorn.

As much as I would love to tweet out that bestial hashtag to up my Twitter cool, I hope that the Bostonian Society will accept this column as my official list of suggestions for the new time capsule instead:

1. A piece of one of the swan boats from the Public Garden

I say a piece of one, because I will have smashed them all. I ask that we put a shard of these strange wooden creatures into the time capsule not as a reminder of their existence, but as a memorial to my brave and long overdue decision to destroy them. These absurd boats have been around for over 130 years, and, as their official website boasts, “are the only boats of their kind in the world”—a testament less to their unique quality than to the fact that the rest of the world has actually managed to keep it together. Never before have I seen such unquestioned devotion to the most obvious of tourist traps. Swim on, Swan Boats, for your days are numbered.

2. A recording of the screeching sound the Green Line makes as it passes through Boylston

Just to give them a little reminder of how quaint this city was in the 2000s. Future Bostonians will reason that people living here in the early 21st century must have always worn earmuffs on their way to work. How else, they will wonder, did it never occur to us to find a way to fix the wildcats-struggling-with-constipation sound that the Green Line decides to emit while negotiating a simple curve? Or they’ll just think we listened to really weird music. That too.

3. A video of an old guy from Southie explaining why he’s so proud to be from Southie

In an increasingly gentrified neighborhood, this guy is a dying breed. He deserves to be recorded for his 15 minutes of fame while girls with yoga mats parade in the background. He can regale us with tales about the real Boston, where drunk college students trampled his front lawn during the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And a bonus for the linguistic anthropologists out there: the video will be a mint condition record of the Boston accent.

4. A photo of that woman I saw one time in Back Bay walking her cat on a leash—all while wearing an array of beaded jewelry, at least three scarves, rings on every finger, and streaks of red dye in her hair

Rock on, weird cat lady. You’ve never looked better.

Featured Image – AP Photo / Boston Globe, Dina Rudick 

September 29, 2014

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