Spring 2012


On Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, I opened Rob's Word Shop for the month of May. Rob's Word Shop was a storefront shop where individual letters and words were sold. The words and letters were either chosen by the individual customers or arrived at with my assistance. I would then hand-write or computer print the letter, word, or words. My shop location was 308 Bowery (the south window at the Bowery Poetry Club), and my hours of operation were Tuesday through Thursday 11:00AM–2:00PM, from May 5-May 27. Single letters were sold for 50 cents and single words for 1 dollar. As the sole proprietor of the store, I invited people to stop by for a chat and buy a letter or a word. Over 30 of these chats were recorded as videos and can be reviewed on youtube (search “robswordshop”). Additionally, each conversation has been transcribed for the book Rob’s Word Shop.

Customer 32 (with customers 31 and 33)

Customer 32: I've had a lot of a lot of ideas for what we could talk about here but since we have... our time is short...

Rob: no, no...

Customer 32: I, well...

Rob: you know, but I... ee... ee... you've been soul searching... I think is, uh, yeah...

Customer 32: what I've been thinking about Rob is...

Rob: yeah

Customer 32: uh, our relationship

Rob: yeah

Customer 32: and I think that for the most part we get along very, very well

Rob: yes, indeed

Customer 32: um... I also think that there's one... there is a point of contention between us that... not just you and I but with many people... um... that's never been resolved and I think I... I'm hoping we can resolve it through language today, um, and it's about the 1985 World Series

Rob: yes

Customer 32: so I would... I think... I think that there was a call made in the eighth inning of game six that you believe was made in error

Rob: I... who doesn’t...

Customer 32: well I believe that it was made correctly and so I was wondering how you could... do you have any ideas about how we could solve this problem so we can move forward?

Customer 31: [inaudible]

Customer 32: in complete agreement

Rob: now, see, this is very complicated in many interesting ways

Customer 32: it's a lyric question

Rob: what we have to investigate I think in this lyric question is resolution itself

Customer 32: mmm...

Rob: can we live without the resolution that's...

Customer 32: right...

Rob: ...that's the hard...

Customer 32: what we do have... we do have, of course, we have history

Rob: yes

Customer 32: somebody was in charge... a figure of authority made a decision

Rob: that's right

Customer 32: that, um, had effects in the real world

Rob: that's right

Customer 32: um...

Rob: and uh right or wrong it's...

Customer 32: right

Rob: ...a decision

Customer 32: right... right... so we can be critical of history but so we [unitelligible] negotiate with the material facts of history, you know, where the spoils went

Rob: right... now, Denninger... right? ...Denninger

Customer 31: right... I think that's right

Customer 32: Denk... Denkinger

Rob: Denkinger... first name John maybe

Customer 32: Don

Customer 33: it's already falling apart they haven't even [inaudible]...

Rob: Don

Customer 32: Don

Rob: Don

Customer 32: Don Denkinger

Rob: Don Denkinger

Customer 32: I think... right... I don't have my iPhone with me

Rob: I think that's right... Don is definitely right... well, the first... well... well, ok, this is very good... so there's a lot to think about here, you know I have a poem written about that very moment

Customer 32: I did not know that

Rob: in my youth

Customer 32: uh huh

Rob: it was written in 1985

Customer 32: mm-hmm

Rob: right after he called the call

Customer 32: the call

Rob: yeah

Customer 32: as it's known in parlance

Customer 31: mm-hmm

Rob: right... right... um, but I can't... I don't remember well enough to recall any of it

Customer 32: it must have been a very angry poem given...

Rob: nah... it was about the ridiculousness of the... the... that... that it was still hurtful

Customer 32: alright... the absurdity of the trauma

Rob: yeah

Customer 32: yeah

Rob: and that word still was central

Customer 32: uh-huh

Rob: [inaudible] continuing

Customer 32: that might be a candidate for our word

Rob: right

Customer 32: as a way for you to heal

Rob: mm-hmm... still, just as by itself, a pretty powerful word

Customer 32: yeah pretty much... what I mean...

Rob: pretty interesting word

Customer 32: yeah

Rob: yeah, um, so on the... the... so that's very nicelet me take some notes here, yeah, still is very nice... it's funny because someone came in... they wanted a noun and verb and come up with, uh, a word that was both a noun and a verb... we had a lot of options

Customer 32: mm-hmm... noun and adjective

Rob: noun and adjective and...

Customer 32: adverb

Rob: you can't have a...

Customer 32: I'm still

Rob: right you can't still... you can't be stillin'

Customer 32: yeah, you can't be stillin'

Customer 31: I'm stillin'

Customer 32: I'm stillin' actually that's...

Customer 31: I know

Rob: that could be a possibility too

Customer 32: I'm stillin'

Rob: still I'm stillin'

Customer 31: yeah

Rob: um, I thought of two... this is on the other end of this... little less subtle

Customer 32: ok

Rob: there was a, uh, a horse... a very good horse... won the Belmont but not the derby, I think, in the, uh, eighties that was called rightorwrongfrank in one word and I thought rightorwrongdon might be kind of interesting

Customer 32: oh I see... right...

Rob: cause it doesn't matter

Customer 32: it doesn't, finally, it doesn't matter

Rob: finally it doesn't matter

Customer 31: but you also get the don at the end which is also the authority figure

Customer 32: right, right, exactly so the law of the father is really important

Customer 31: he's the don, yes

Rob: and the amazing thing there is that it's one word

Customer 31: sure

Customer 32: I'm getting a bargain

Rob: you would get a real bargain there, yeah... yeah... no, there's a lot... there's a lot of assonance in that isn't there

Customer 32: mm-hmm

Rob: rightorwrongdon... so those are some choices...

Customer 32: yeah...

Rob: ...that i think are all interesting

Customer 32: do you guys have a feeling about this?

Customer 33: you just want one?

Customer 32: I always have buyer's... I have preemptive buyer's remorse

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: you know and I... and I... it's like anytime you know... it's like choosing between two things that are wonderful

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: like two different kinds of wonderful bourbon... it's like I already regret not having bought the other one as I'm buying the one that I'm buying

Customer 33: but you never say I'm just gonna have both?

Customer 32: I do but I would never tell anyone I did that cause that seems kind of obsessive

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: and decadent

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: even beyond

Customer 33: decadent [inaudible]

Customer 32: which is...

Rob: [unintelligible] standards

Customer 32: which is kind of legendary... sorry...

Customer 31: I'm attracted to this one

Customer 32: I'm stillin'

Customer 31: but stillin' as a contraction

Customer 32: stillin' with an apostrophe

Customer 31: yeah

Customer 32: right

Rob: yeah

Customer 31: yeah

Rob: I thought of that... I didn't want to get a little

Customer 31: as a sort of...

Rob: um... presumptuous

Customer 31: as a kind of innovation in hip hop vernacular

Customer 32: yeah, yeah

Rob: with, uh, wi... it could be with or without... with... uh with apostrophe

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: and you know, also, you know you have the words i'm still in...

Customer 31: I know...

Customer 32: which is, um, exactly the situation for the Kansas City Royals... they're still in the record book as the 19...

Rob: right...

Customer 32: 1985 World Series Champions

Customer 31: right yeah

Customer 33: and you're still in your argument

Customer 32: until this is... until the transaction

Rob: yeah but Rob's not buying your argument

Customer 32: oh right

Rob: but I could be stillin'

Customer 31: uh-huh

Customer 32: yeah, right, right, it also sort of... I think we're leaning really heavily here... but it's also like you can hear the words I'm stealin'

Customer 31: stealin' that's what I got too

Customer 32: like I've stolen the World Series...

Customer 31: yeah yeah

Customer 32: away from the Cardinals

Customer 31: I know

Rob: right, right, right

Customer 31: I hear that... that's what I heard as well

Customer 32: I think... I think this is maybe a go Rob

Rob: alright good should we bother with the, uh, seeing what...

Customer 32: why don't I just purchase this from you, Rob, and...

Rob: forget about the rest of it?

Customer 32: [unintelligible] other customer's waiting and we... we should...

Customer 33: oh yeah but I'm [inaudible]...

Rob: alright, good, um... and you don't need to... you don't need another version?

Customer 32: I think I'm ok with this

Rob: look at that... no more buyer's remorse

Customer 32: I know

Rob: maybe you're cured

Customer 32: well, see, cause if you had written... here's the problem... if you do make another one, I will be racked with such indecision and I may never leave

Customer 33: yeah

Customer 32: so...

Rob: that's... that could be a problem... although as much as I love your company, you probably don't want to spend the rest of your life here... ok, good, so two words... contractions are, uh...

Customer 32: yeah, I think... so I... do you think I can get a folder?

Rob: a folder?

Customer 32: yeah

Rob: that was gonna be my next question... folder

Customer 33: Rob, has anyone brought back their word

Rob: no, I've had no...

Customer 31: no returns?

Rob: I... I'm open to returns or exchanges

Customer 33: yeah...

Rob: and I haven't had any, um...

Customer 31: layaway?

Rob: I haven't had any layaway... I mean I have had a few... um... I have some delinquent...

Customer 33: yeah?

Customer 32: oh

Rob: uh, orders, you know...

Customer 32: how do you plan on taking care of that?

Rob: I don't know... a collection agency maybe...

Customer 32: yeah

Rob: maybe I'll get you on that... I... I don't know

Customer 32: to do collection?... I wear pink pants... I don't know if I'm terribly imposing... you owe Rob Fitterman money

Customer 31: sure

Customer 32: it's like phshhh

Customer 31: yeah sure

Customer 32: yeah sure



The player will show in this paragraph

Poet Robert Fitterman sells words and letters from a Bowery storefront, with Brandon Brown and Dana Ward.