Sunday, March 5, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Metropolitan Diary Entry - from a Long-Time Cleveland Parker

by Peggy Robin

Today’s Still Life with Robin column comes to you courtesy of The New York Times, whose “Metropolitan Diary” column – always filled with little glimpses of city life in the form of vignettes sent in by visitors or residents -- comes out weekly in the print edition of the paper on Sundays. Until fairly recently it came out on Mondays. It’s been a feature of the paper since 1976 – and I’ve been a big fan from the start. I’ve even submitted pieces to it, at least twice (but never selected).

Imagine my pleasure when I opened the paper this morning and saw that one of the vignettes was by a long-time Cleveland Parker – and Listserv member, too. The Metropolitan Diarist in this case is Sal Selvaggio, who posts regularly to give us the events and programs of Northwest Neighbors Village, for whom he serves a volunteer outreach coordinator. He’s also a dentist, and until he retired a few years ago, was one of the most frequently recommended dentists on the Listserv. As it happens, he was the dentist for my adult children after they outgrew their pediatric dentist but before they moved to other cities. They both thought he was great!

It turns out that he’s great with a snappy anecdote, too! With that introduction, here's his story:

Special Skill (excerpt from New York Times Metropolitan Diary, Sunday March 5, 2023) 

Dear Diary:

It was a lovely evening. My wife Andrea and I were walking down a mostly empty street in Brooklyn, returning from a funeral. I was quickly running out of relatives of a certain age. 

A man who was walking in the opposite direction veered straight toward us, stopped abruptly and garbled a question through clenched teeth. 

I answered, and he walked away. My wife was confused. 

I explained that he had been asking for directions with a broken jaw that was wired shut. 

Wow, she said, what are the chances he would ask the only person around who could understand him? 

My years of being a dentist and talking to people with mouths full of cotton had finally been useful outside the office. 

— Sal Selvaggio


Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on weekends (usually on Saturdays but today it got bumped back to Sunday.)

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