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MAR
02

The Typewriter Doctor

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I've always hoped to one day own a vintage typewriter. Not because I would type my manuscripts on it or because it would have any practical purpose whatsoever, but as a writer, it's just, well, nostalgic. Plus, imagine the possibilities! I could type my to-do lists! Mail notes to friends and family not in my own uneven chicken scratch, but in a nice, neat row of measured typeface! Heck, even just looking over at my writing desk were it be topped with one of these babies would make me smile.

When I saw an old Smith Corona for sale at a thrift store over the weekend, I snatched it up for a song and immediately looked up a typewriter repair shop (reason #13948 why I love NYC...you can find anything). Of course I hoped what anyone in my situation would have hoped: that my little Smith Corona could be restored to working condition. I mean, what a steal that would have been! To have gotten it so cheap. Sadly, after spending a morning at the typewriter doctor's Gramercy office, my little machine was diagnosed as not salvageable. I mean, he could have done it. But it would have cost more than simply buying one of the already restored machines he had on the shelf. And given all the twisted mayhem inside, even if he did restore mine, it wasn't likely to perform particularly well. So I opted to buy one of the beauties on the shelf. (Happy tax return to me.)

I can only blame what I then told the typewriter doctor on my somewhat dopey state (and I can only blame my dopey state on being in the presence of so many darling typewriters), but it struck me in that moment--the customer before me having just been reunited with the machine his grandmother gave him when he was 13; "It's worth it," this customer told me when he heard the doctor tell me how much it would cost to restore the machine I brought in--that being in this line of work must be incredibly satisfying.

"This must be a really fun line of work," I told the typewriter doctor.

In my fantasy world, he would smile wistfully and tell me that it was. In reality, he raised his eyebrows a bit and stared at me while struggling to come up with words strong enough to convey just how wrong I was. I don't know. Maybe a job is always a job to the person doing it. But the way I see it, if yours somehow involves vintage typewriters, you've got a leg up over the rest of us.

AUG
20

Tuesday Nostalgia

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Because, why not?

The Lion King came through town a few weeks ago, which I suppose is why I've been a bit nostalgic ever since about all things Disney. When people ask what my favorite Disney movie is (to be clear, no one ever asks me this), I say The Little Mermaid. It probably has more to do with my age at the time the movie came out, but I'm pretty convinced there is a rather large contingent of women out there who hold Ariel and her underwater posse close to their hearts.

I always thought it was just me and was almost embarrassed that I had latched onto the movie so, but at a church camp one summer years later (a girls camp), I learned I was not alone in my obsession. Being a church camp, the camp leaders had put together a little book of songs that were approved for us to sing en masse while we sat in the lodge and waited for our tables to be dismissed for dinner. (Because certainly the worst possible thing that could have happened that week while caring for hundreds of teenage girls would have been inappropriate song lyrics. The horror.)

Anyway, one evening as we sat waiting for dinner, someone started singing Part of Your World, which, incidentally, was not in the song book. A few more joined in, then a whole table, and in a moment that was as solidaritous as it was amazing, pretty soon the entire lodge was singing this song. We knew it by heart. Every single one of us. And it wasn't just that we knew it, it's that we were into it. Think about it: here's a story about a girl who risks everything for a chance (and not a good one) to have what she wants most. That kind of gumption is not just admirable, it's inspirational. It's empowering. So imagine a campful of teenagers all wanting something more than they currently have, whether freedom or opportunity or circumstances. Imagine letting them loose with this song. Not sure I've ever seen such passion in all my life. Thank you, Disney. And thank you, Jodi Benson. For giving us a voice, then and now.

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