Adventures in Marketing: Week 116

“Are you the Bob Levin who’s married to Adele Levin?”
“I am,” I said.
Mendel (as I shall call him) had been a boyfriend of Adele’s friend Rhonda (as I shall call her) before I’d arrived in Berkeley in 1968. A free-spirit, he had supplanted the income from a family trust by driving a cab then and, as the trust income had not increased along with inflation, by driving for Uber now. The age of the women with whom he had become involved with had not changed much either. The last one, 50-years his junior, had given him a son before returning to Thailand.
His rumpled khaki suit would have fit one of Graham Greene’s displaced. His eyes still twinkled – but behind glasses that slid halfway down his nose. His still curly hair needed a trim. “Isn’t Adele your cousin as well as your wife?”
“She is not,” I said.
Of the books before me on my table, he picked up “Most Outrageous.” This was the choice least commonly made. He looked at the photo of the smiling teenage girl with her arms around the smiling bearded man.
“The two principal characters,” I said. “A true crime story.”
He gathered his thoughts.
“$15,” I said.
“I look forward to discussing this with you, but now I’m late for shul.” He put down the book. “You know, I was once at a seder with Adele and Rhonda and Baba Ram Dass.”
I knew that Adele, when she had been a teenager and Ram Dass had still been Richard Alpert, had been at a seder together, but I had never heard of one that included Mendel or Rhonda. When I got home. I asked her.
“Never happened,” she said. “Mendel must have heard my story from Rhonda and decided he deserved to be a part of it.”
I wondered how many people in Berkeley Mendel had told of his seder with Ram Dass.
Then I wondered how many people he had told that Adele had married her cousin.
Now I wonder how many people I will tell about Mendel.
As I have called him.