Sold one “Cheesesteak”; gave one “Cheesesteak” away; had two inquiries of note.
The buyer was a previously resistant café regular, a bright guy, an attorney who’d quit to teach high school (now retired). The tipping point seemed to have been an explanation I was giving involving the book’s cover, its portrait-of-the-author, and the t-shirt I was wearing, establishing the circularity of all things.
The gift was to an editor at a university press. He’d e-mailed me praise for “Palestra,” a piece which I’d written for BSR nine years ago. A few years my junior, he’d gone to West Catholic, LaSalle, and worked on the Temple University Press’s history of Big Five basketball, which I keep within arm’s reach of my bed. With that background – and the thoughtfulness demonstrated by writing me – how could I keep the book, of which “Palestyra” formed a part, from him?
One inquiree was a 30-ish fellow, who worked on international development projects for a non-profit – and also wrote/drew/played music. He was attracted to my table by my sign – but had not heard of S. Clay Wilson, who had drawn it. I said one book was a black comedy and one a memoir about growing up in West Philadelphis in the 1950s and he said “That must have been intense,” and I said, “Intense? The 1950s?” He said he would be back when he had cash on him.
The other, toting a backpack and pushing a roller suitcase, told me, in an affected brogue, that he was 85% Irish from Connaught, which he pronounced for me twice. He said he had written two books, one on agriculture and one on secret government agencies, neither of which had been published, so, for one of mine, he would trade me the Lou Reed bio (marked $3.98) a woman had given him as soon as he finished it. After he left, he spent some time inspecting, as if for treasure, the squares of dirt around the newly planted trees in front of the office building across the street.