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Review : Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I have not read Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks but I have thought about it. Rather, I thought about that one story of his I brought in that one time for my students. I like to do this exercise, you see, where we practice workshop with an anonymous story, the story always being written by a celebrity (and later, after the workshop, I tell them who wrote it) and I could not find my steadfast and true James Franco one, most likely because every time I read it I have the unsettling feeling that I have made a grave mistake with my life path if this is the measure of success, but since I couldn’t find that story I had to make do with something else. This Hanks story, this one I can’t remember (perhaps “uncommon” should be common, no? Common as in forgettable?), was not what prompted me to not read this debut collection, but rather something else—I was thinking of that time in New York when I went to FAO Schwartz and I saw the famous keyboard. You know the one, the one in Big, the movie where the kid turns into a thirty-year-old adult (which, in itself, is depressing, in the kind of way it’s depressing to remember how excited he was on payday to get 187 dollars, or the kind of depressing to realize that I am now older than the characters that I used to think were old when I watched them as a child, the kind of depressing that makes me wonder why I, now post-thirty, do not have the fun career at a toy company like FAO Schwartz, but then I remember that FAO Schwartz went out of business which somehow simultaneously comforts and depresses me further).

Remembering FAO Schwartz I think—Oh, how adorable, but then, interrupting my wave of nostalgia is the memory of the movie. Do you remember it? Like, I mean really remember it? Sure, it’s all fun and games at first, but as you watch it you begin to realize that part of what you’re watching is the storyline of a romance between a twelve-year-old kid and an adult woman. Do you remember this? Do you remember the scene I am talking about? I did not recognize the uncomfortableness of this scene when I was younger, but as an adult it makes me shift in my seat while I think about what other movies seen in the light of adulthood make one recoil in horror, and then I think about the endings in The Last Unicorn or The Secret of the Nihm, or that scene in The Neverending Story where Sebastian encounters Gmork, all movies I watched alone, usually at night because even as a child I had trouble sleeping, and I begin to wonder how I’ve made it this far without some sort of therapy.

Consider the evidence:

(I’m assuming this is the scene but in truth I have no idea but I’ve tried to block this whole movie out)

Or:

While I’m at it, let’s talk about some others, like, oh, I don’t know–how about Dumbo (you know the scene I’m talking about)?:

 

Or Pinocchio (to this day I have no idea what’s supposed to be happening because I was so bothered seeing it the first time while also not fully understanding what was happening that I never watched it again):

Or, horror upon horrors, Watership Down (which is not a children’s movie, but I watched it as a young child anyway. I think my mother bought it thinking it was because of bunnies?):

I mean, honestly.

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