72 Scissors! By Krausz, Sigmund

One of the types that haunt the residence parts of the city in preference to the business district is the scissors-grinder. He is generally an Italian, though other nationalities also contribute to this “sharp“ profession. The scissors-grinder is a man who is always welcome to the cook, who, if she happens to be a daughter of Erin, will for the moment forget her innate prejudice against the “Eyetalian” and intrust her dull knives to his care. Whether he carries his apparatus on his back or pushes it before him on wheels, his mind reverting to his sunny home or to his native maccaroni pots, his brown hand does not tire of swinging the bell with which he reminds our housewives of a dull carving-knife or a rusty pair of scissors. The boys also welcome him and are interested spectators during the process of putting an edge on the pocket-knives which Santa Claus had brought them last Christmas. What a pleasure it is for the children to stand around that spark-emitting grindstone! They don’t disturb the taciturn Italian, who grinds away with the stoical equanimity of a Marc Aurelius until he tests the edge with his horny thumb and demands his ten or “fifteen centi.“

The scissors-grinder likes America, but not always enough to be willing to die here. His ambition is to save a few hundred dollars if possible more with which to return to his sunny country. There, on the beautiful plains of the Lombardy or in the picturesque mountains of Calabria he will enjoy the eve of his life with plenty of polcuta and maccaroni. Mayhaps he will look compassionately at the poor Lazzaroni in Naples, compared to whom, he imagines himself a Croesus.

Dieses Kapitel ist Teil des Buches STREET TYPES GREAT AMERICAN CITIES