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Paul Smotrys, Metalworker

"I get very nervous in wide-open spaces."

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What do you do?
I have a business that makes custom metal letters, and right now I’m big with weddings. My top seller is a scripted monogram, but I also do sweetheart cake toppers: a heart shape with the bride’s and groom’s names in it.

What’s the weirdest word you’ve been asked to make?
I’ve done some sexual things, of course. And then I did words for these kids’ rooms. The little girl got PRINCESS and BALLERINA and the little boy got BOOGER and SNOT. Mostly, though, people like inspirational words, like DREAM, RELAX, and IMAGINE. PEACE has been big the past couple of years.

What words do you have in your house?
None. I look at them for eight to ten hours a day. But if I was going to, I would have the word FRAUD in my living room. It just seems like a fun word.

Have you always had a goatee?
For about seven or eight years. What happened is, I shaved my head and figured I needed something for balance. It works well with my nose.

Where do you live?
In the financial district. I’ve always liked Wall Street. I like the compression of it. It feels tight. You really feel squeezed down there, and I like that. I get very nervous in wide-open spaces.


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