Monday, February 16, 2009

Death of a Salesman

A few weeks ago, the peeler guy from the Union Square Greenmarket died. Yes, I bought peelers from him, and yes, they work really really well.

I already miss his shpiel.

I spent my childhood watching my father's alter ego--antique book salesman--and admiring its unlikely bravado. My weekday policy/finance Dad wore a suit, carried a briefcase, and went to an office. I don't know exactly what his work persona was like--though a memorial service last year gave me the sense that he was more outgoing and more gregarious than I ever imagined--but his salesman persona always seemed like a funny role he was playing.

"Antiquarian bookseller" sounds genteel, I realize, but ofttimes this involved selling at streetfairs (back when NYC streetfairs were eclectic and interesting, not just sweatsocks and funnel cakes). On certain occasions, he was a carnival barker, calling passerbys to his booth, promising 50% off. I was usually plopped on a lawn chair at the front of the booth with my mother, making sure nobody stole anything, making transactions, and watching my father doing what he loved.

Somehow I think Joe Ades the vegetable peeler seller reminded me of that unabashed salesman spirit I used to see in my Dad...

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