“When you quarrel, you go mushroom hunting and after an hour or two, you are friends again.”
New York City train conductors are typically pretty useless in their announcements, slurring words into an inaudible mess. Sometimes they even yell!
In 1992, Susan Orlean profiled 10-year-old Colin Duffy for Esquire magazine. Her story, “The American Man, Age 10,” is the product of a great deal of trust and collaboration between reporter and subject. Orlean doesn’t waste words describing her conversations with Colin. Rather, her sentences are richly layered with the products of those conversations. “If Colin Duffy and I were to get married, we would have matching superhero notebooks,” writes Orlean. She continues:
“We would eat pizza and candy for all of our meals. We wouldn’t have sex, but we would have crushes on each other and, magically, babies would appear in our home. We would win the lottery and then buy land in Wyoming, where we would have one of every kind of cute animal.”
It is an awesome and terrible thing to look into the eyes of the mother of a recently murdered six-year-old who believes, perhaps correctly, that her child would be alive today if our laws had been sensible enough to have limited the number of rounds in a magazine.
In 1930, Oklahoma City had a half-million cars on its streets and seemingly no place to park them. Automobiles were choking commerce: Drivers who worked downtown were monopolizing the parking, keeping away others who wished to conduct business there. Someone needed to invent a machine that could regulate street parking. Carlton Magee was an editor of the Albuquerque Morning Journal when in 1920 he helped uncover what would become the Teapot Dome Scandal. A few years later, in a hotel lobby, a judge whom Magee once accused of corruption walked up and knocked him to the floor. The editor drew his pistol and shot wide, killing a bystander. Acquitted of manslaughter, Magee moved to Oklahoma City to run the Oklahoma News, where parking, not vindictive judges, was the big story. Magee invented the Dual Park-O-Meter, filed for its patent, and on July 16, 1935, 174 parking meters were slotted into Oklahoma City.
For businessmen and courts around the country, the invention of the parking meter was on par with shooting at a judge.