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  • There's a little corner in Brussels where a boy stands all day long. He doesn't say much, do much, or wear much. This boy is known as Manneken Pis.

    It's hard to describe the scene. There's nothing quite like it in the whole world. I've seen the fountains at Trafalgar Square, the Trevi in Rome, even the one in Disney World's Epcot, but I've never seen a fountain quite like Manneken Pis. There he stands in all his glory, a small boy made of brass sharing his gift to the world in the form of a small fountain emanating from his genitalia. Truly a sight to behold.

    It reminds me of something you would see in the home and garden section of your local hardware store (which I'm sure I have due to its popularity). Nothing fancy, just a boy standing in a cement fountain answering nature's call. His face is pleasant, his action precise. The craziest part is that he is surrounding my thousands of tourists every day.

    I couldn't believe it until I saw it for my self. He resides on a small street just outside of Brussels' Grand Place Grote Markt, surrounded by gift shops, waffle vendors, and other small cafés. I approached with caution and skepticism. The crowd surrounded the fountain with cameras and cell phones held high, almost blocking the boy from view. I couldn't believe it. All this for a small statue of a boy going the bathroom? What gives?

    I stood there a while, took some photos, and then sat on the curb next to the fountain and think of an explanation as to why this became an attraction. I later investigated further and found that it was placed there in the early 1600s and has been stolen several times. Now the original is enshrined in a museum while a replica stands in its place. I still didn't get it. I still don't really get it to this day.

    Then it hit me. Who cares? When I was sitting there on the curb listening to conversations, the camera shutters spinning wildly, and the laughter as people rounding the corner got their first glimpse of the small boy, I realized it doesn't matter why it's famous, only that it brings people together to share a laugh at one of the world's small fascinations. I felt like I was apart of the global community, mingling with complete strangers on a totally different level. After a few minutes I just stood there in front of that bronze child and laughed. There was nothing else I could do. Having seen some of the wonders of this planet I can attest to the power and magnificence that is Manneken Pis.
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