Ed Page at Danger Blog! has excavated an old New Yorker piece in which James Thurber imagines how Hemingway would rewrite a Chirstmas classic. Here’s a small taste:
The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.
“Father,” the children said.
There was no answer. He’s there, all right, they thought.
“Father,” they said, and banged on their beds.
The Wall Street Journal‘s column 4 has a terrific story today about Brooklyn’s last remaining seltzer truck. You know the mantra: no link, but this piece alone is well worth the buck for the paper:
Spritzed by Flatbush Avenue traffic on a wet morning, the last known seltzer truck in New York City was a double-parked apparition, its tiers of lopsided racks holding a cock-eyed pile of siphon bottles in cracked, wooden crates.
Arnold Brenner, a psychoanalyst walking to work, spotted the truck just as Ronny Beberman, the seltzerman, was wheeling a delivery toward an apartment-house door. Dr. Brenner yelled, “How much is a….” But Mr. Beberman was already inside.
Dr. Brenner stood unactualized on the sidewalk. “I was thinking I could get a case,” he said. “It’s the spritz that does it–that fizz–so soothing, so strong. Reminiscent of something, something romantic.”
Ronny Beberman has his own analysis of the spritz mystique: Because nobody wants it anymore, seltzer has become desirable.
“People, they don’t know what seltzer is,” he says. “They moved from Iowa. They ask me, ‘What’s in those bottles?’ I have people, they chase me in their cars. They’re disenchanted. They’re drinking out of plastic.”
Mr. Beberman emerges from this wonderful piece a genuinely romantic figure, the unbowed last relic of a business you’ll be amazed (and grateful) to find has not quite died out yet. Buy the paper, read the whole piece. You’ll get a Count Basie review and a profile of a fashion photographer into the bargain.