Another day at the dentist. I still spare you the details. I was thinking I’d treat myself to a trip to the Municipal Archives to find this photograph that has been haunting me for years.
It was a picture of a man in a shack, taken around 1915, and he was clearly living the most wretched existence, everything about it said pain, misery, screwed-over by life. I swear I saw it over ten years ago and I still think about it from time to time. How everyone gets a certain amount of luck, and varying degrees of intelligence, talent, looks, love, friends, wealth, and so on, but he didn’t get any. He was living at the bottom of the barrel on every level. I know it’s bizarre that I would consider this a treat but I want to confront this photograph. I’ve never been able to get it out of my mind.
That reminds me. There was a picture of a baby standing up in a hallway in a tenement in Part Three of Ric Burns’s New York Documentary. I think it was a Jacob Riis photograph. I immediately wondered if Mark Helprin saw this photograph and if it was the inspiration for a child in his novel Winter’s Tale. (Love that book.)
I took this while walking to the dentist yesterday. It’s like nature tried to save me and did everything it could to prevent me and my dentist from getting to the office.