Adventures in Marketing — Week 283

Three sales in three separate transactions to people who were neither (a) friends nor (b) previous customers. Remarkable!
First came “Chuck,” a youthful 68-year-old guest of the hotel to which the café is appended. He struck up a conversation because I looked “interesting.” (I was braceleted, in red beret and Andy Warhol soup can half-boots, so… Yeah!) He manages apartment buildings for a SoCal billionaire. His favorite part of the job, he told me, was hearing tenants’ stories, “…like how they kicked meth. ‘That’s a great story,’ I tell them, ‘but never tell it to a real estate agent again.’”
Chuck had a never-used law degree, so we talked that. We talked Covid, hippie days, how the Chinese had bought up Pasedena in order to get money out of their country before their government could steal it, how I became a writer, how his brother had been beaten to death in jail by Orange County police in 1969.
He bought a “Cheesesteak,” and, since he didn’t want change, I threw in a “Schiz.”

Next up was “Aurora,” a pleasant, grey-haired water colorist. She went for “Goshkin” because of the illustrations. While signing it, I learned her husband wrote “gritty crime fiction” set in the San Francisco Tenderloin. Ooops, I thought, I should have pushed a “Schiz” on her. Well, if I run into her again.

Finally, “Uri.” He’s been at the café a couple months and his favorite table is about five-feet from mine. When he is on his lap top, which is all the time he is seated, he never pulls up his mask. I am tempted to say something, except half the time I am my table, I don’t pull up my mask either. Live and let live, I guess.
We had never spoken until the other day, when he asked me to watch his lap top while he went to the rest room. (Usually, like me, he takes it along.) The day after that, the ice broken, he asked which of my books was best for a long plane ride. Turns out he’s an Israeli mathematician, one of many who spends much time in Berkeley, I learned and he’s heading back to Jerusalem. (Weirdly, that makes at least four mathematicians I have met at the café – as opposed to the zero mathematicians I have met everywhere else in my life.

I told Uri of the Israeli TV shows I’ve seen, and he didn’t know any of them – except “Prisoners of War.” He only watches, he said, what hid kids do – and they prefer American TV, like “Friends.”
He bought a “Schiz” too.

In other news…
1.) One more SASE received for a “Lollipop.” This from a comics world pal. [If you want one, send the envelope and sufficient postage – $2.89 domestic – to POB 9492, Berkeley 94709.
2.) A friend forwarded me an email to him from the son of a deceased friend of his. My friend thought it might merit noting in an “Adventure” since the son mentioned “Best Ride,” having found it among a caron of books belonging to his father. The totality of this mention was that the son had “enjoyed ‘Last Ride’… (sic)”; but since this came amidst 16 lines of praise of and comments upon my friend’s writing, I could not resist – perhaps ungenerously – wondering what he really wanted me to note.
3. Have two mini-pieces (one “political,” one “cultural”) waiting at “First of the Month.” I am also to review a collection of letters from S. Clay Wilson to Charles Plymell for “The Comics Journal.” Wilson was, of course, the great UG cartoonist – and a great letter-writer, usually adorning them with his drawings, and Plymell was a semi-great, semi-Beat poet; and this is the first collection of Wilson’s letters to see print.
But it was in a 100 copy edition and was priced at $99. WHOA (expletives deleted !!! I thought, But then I thought, Hey, the Journal will pay me that. So I am feeling very shrewd and very professional and very looking forward to it.