I’m kind of obsessed with books. Especially coffee table books. My friend Hannah and I made this pact that every year for our birthdays we’d exchange coffee table books. I suddenly feel old, but I’m just telling you what the pact is. Anyway, New York City is a great place to start a collection because you can find great finds on the street. I started getting mine from Leroy and Sam. Leroy and Sam sounds like a boutique bookstore, but really they are two men who set up tables on 73rd and Broadway. I went there the other day. Sam is a white Jewish man in his 50s. Leroy is a black Christian man in his 60s. They are hilarious. This is what happened.
Me: What you got for me Sam?
Sam: I have some great children’s books today.
Me: What kind?
Sam: Literature. The good stuff. You’ll like it.
Me: I want to look at the coffee table books today. I’ll pull them out. (They hide under the table sometimes)
Leroy: (talking louder than he needs to) Whatever you buy today is on me! Whatever you buy!
Sam: Well I have these…
Leroy: Did you hear me Sam? Whatever she buys is on me!
Me: Oh no, you don’t have to do that. I have 10 dollars right here.
Sam: You’re married. Stop flirting!
Leroy: I said ‘I do not I die’. A married man can flirt
(Two kids walk up with their grandmother. The girl who is about nine really wants a CD she sees)
Sam: I’ll give you a good price. That one there is five dollars
Girl: Can I get it grandmother? Can I?
Grandmother: How do I know these will work?
Sam: They’ll work
Grandmother: How do I know they’ll play?
Sam: I’m here everyday. If it doesn’t bring it back, but it will work.
Girl: I don’t see any scratches! Can I get it?
Grandmother: Do you want to spend your birthday money on it?
(They walk away)
Sam: That’s a mean old woman. I should’ve given that girl the CD. That’s a mean old grandma. Did you hear her? (mocks woman) Do you want to spend your birthday money?
Leroy: Come look over here beautiful
Sam: Stop flirting before I tell your wife
Leroy: Tell her then. They don’t make them like this anymore now Sam!
(I walk over to Leroy’s table)
Leroy: Do you believe in God?
Leroy: There you go! He woke us up today didn’t He?
Me: Sure did
Leroy: See I try to tell these rich folks around here that they need God in their life. I’ve never seen so many rich people in my life and I don’t think they all believe in God
Me: Now you don’t know that
Leroy: I sure do! You see all the money they make isn’t good money. I’d rather have no money than have dirty money.
Me: Well it’s not all dirty
Leroy: Shoooooot. Some of it is I know. You see these white folks get so rich and then they get unhappy and jump off buildings and stuff. If they knew God they wouldn’t act that way
Sam: Why do you say white people?
Leroy: Sam when’s the last time you heard of a black man getting so rich he jumped off a building?
Leroy: See there!
Robin: I like this one. This one on Coco Chanel
Sam: Leroy she was rich and she didn’t jump off a building
Leroy: I didn’t say all white folks. Just some of them. The ones with sense don’t jump.
Robin: No she died in a hotel. The Ritz I think it was.
Leroy: Dying in The Ritz. Woooo Sam you hear that? You ever heard of a black man dying in The Ritz?
Robin: Leroy maybe you’ll be the first. When the time comes
Leroy: Baby when it’s my time I can be on that bench over there (points off). I don’t care where I am when He calls. I’d sure like you by my bedside though
Sam: I’m going to tell your wife
Leroy: I said ‘I do not I die’ Tell her!
Me: (laughing) I’ll see y’all next week
Leroy: I’ll be right here waiting on ya