My doctor tells me I need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Unfortunately, that leads to another problem: Portland doesn't have many pots to pee in that are open to the public. Where can I go that's socially acceptable? —Fred S.

If I were you, Fred, I'd steer clear of water—unlike beer, it doesn't make you (and more importantly, everyone around you) better-looking. But if you must, at least spare yourself the self-flagellating odium of feeling that you have to down eight glasses a day if you ever want to see your kidneys again: It's a myth.

It's true that around 2.5 liters (around eight 10-ounce glasses) of water should pass through your system daily. But unless you live entirely on beef jerky and buckwheat husks, you already get around 20 percent of that just from the solid food you eat. Most of the rest is provided by the various Slurpees, beers, macchiatos and flagons of goat urine you consume throughout the day.

I will (grudgingly) admit that water is not bad for you. Still, if you drink a 12-ounce glass of water only to find yourself taking a 12-ounce leak 20 minutes later, chances are you were fairly well-hydrated to begin with.

Of course, if you want to drink excess water just for the recreational urination opportunities, be my guest. And if you're looking for places to go, you're in luck: A Portland NGO called Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (the initials spell "PHLUSH"—what are the odds?) maintains a directory of downtown's public loos.

In addition, PHLUSH—a proud member of the World Toilet Organization—does advocacy for the cause of more and better public toilets, arguing, not unpersuasively, that not having to crap in the bushes is one of the cornerstones of human dignity. Stand (or sit) with them at

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