Garbalogy – The Dick Story

Friday, February 22, 2008

History Of Garbalogy – The Dick Story Part I

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

The Dick Story is special. Baby Dave asked me to relate it…

These Junkmen are such difficult animals to pinpoint  in just a few strokes. Still, I want to get the ball rolling on Dick in just a few strokes.

Here goes:

Dick worked on Wall Street for 30 years as a broker. 30 years! Simutaneously, he worked as a Junkman. 30 years as a Junkman.

He lived in Jersey, put on his suit and went to work, He got out at 3P.M. is that typical of wall street?

Anyway, he came on and put on his junkman clothes and went and cleaned out houses. He came to the flea market at 4 am every Sunday for 30 years with two extended vans. His son drove the other van.

He sold everything for a quarter. At 4 am he was the star that thirty to fifty people had their flashlights shining on as he exited the van with boxes of collectibles and junk.

Antique Dealers from Soho and immigrants from Russia rubbed money wallets together as they fought over half used bottles of detergents and deco ashtrays. Each sold for a quarter! He sold stuff you could get 200 dollars for and he sold stuff that was pure garbage.

By 8:30 in the morning, he was packing up and heading back to Jersey.

Do you know where he was going?

A limo was waiting for him to take him to Atlantic City.

Dick was a high roller. His hotel room was free. His limo that took him back and forth to Atlantic City was free.

His limo brought him straight to Wall Street Monday morning.

This guy was a hero of mine.


The endurance, the shining flashlights on him as he came off the van with boxes of crap that 30 to 50 people fed on and made careers off of him. The bitter cold of snow and sub freezing weather leads us up to the story I’m going to tell you guys tomorrow.

On New Years 96 I had been stabbed a bunch of times.

A week later I was at the flea market right before the big snowstorm. My head was still in bandages.

The only ones there were me, Dick and a prostitute looking for a warmer coat…

The rest of the story tomorrow…

Saturday, February 23, 2008

History Of Garbology – The Dick Story Part II

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

A week after I was stabbed in 96, I tried to pay attention to my business and not about the attack. I’m no mood to talk about the attack now. I’m sure I will.

I tried to go on with business as usual. The next day I was at the store, my head full of bandages and my arm taped up right over my tattoo of the cat in the hat. They almost cut off the head of the cat in the hat as well as mine.

Anyway, the weekend came and I saw an opportunity to score off of Dick. It was supposed to snow and it was cold.

At 4 a.m. the flea market was a sheet of ice.

Layers was the way to go. I’d wear like a dozen shirts and felt like Gene Hackman in Straw Dogs.

Dick was there. One van today. I wondered if this would affect how much he would play in Atlantic City that night.

As I mentioned he was a high roller of an unusual kind…

Let’s work on Dick’s economy for a moment

Dick brought two extended vans…

Baby Dave this is a question for you… Did we go to the market after Terry came back from the wedding kind of pissed. Is that the night we gave him a bagel and he was pissed because we were watching Happy Days?

Somehow we were at his apartment and then we went to Dick at 4a.m.

Anyway Dick’s economy.

Each box had25-40 items at 25 cents = $10 a box

He brought two extended vans 100 each van- 200 boxes

200 x 10 = 2000 dollars

From 4.a.m to 11 tops. He was done while people were still setting up. He was done so early that he would rent out his space to other people. He never had to lay out money for the spot.

Now, 2 grand ain’t bad for a few hours, even though it could have been more if he worked on the stuff a little.

He had more than two grand in a week from the business though.

Here’s how – the guy who bought the deco ashtray for a quarter may get the idea to ask Dick where the desk was that the ashtray was on.

Ahh… He never brought the furniture to the market. You had to go get it from him in Jersey.

He might bring in bowling shirts for a quarter but if you wanted the whole two thousand pieces from him you had to go to Jersey to get it.

He might bring in books for a quarter a piece but there never were any art books or arcitecture books or Photography books that’s because he was in a partnership with a bookstore.

The guy always had 5-7 grand to go to Atlantic City with. Always. He also never lost. He played to play. He liked the accomodations and free food and the limo that picked him up.

So, I gotta get going but Dick said to me on this cold day with no one around on this wasteland of ice,”I gotta go in the van, I don’t feel well.”

A half hour of waiting around before I knocked on the van door and asked… “Hey, you alright in there?”

End Of Part II

Monday, February 25, 2008

History Of Garbology – The Dick Story Part III

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Most of my garbology stories don’t involve murder and violence. It will when we get to Bucky  and his old man.

There is an air of underground unsavoriness about this business. There usually is a death involved.

The ending of this story does not end in death. It could have. Dick was no spring chicken when he went into that van and said,”I don’t feel well.”

I stood outside for ten minutes before I said,”Dick are you alright in there?”

If he wouldn’t have responded, I would have gone in. I would have given him mouth to mouth. This was a period before cell phones or at least I didn’t have one in 96.

We were on a frozen tundra of ice. It was an empty parking lot with just Dick’s van, Dick and me on it. The prostitute got her coat earlier and was gone. She got her fur for a quarter. She didn’t have a quarter so I bought it for her. She hugged me.

Anyway, I was on this tundra of ice waiting to see if I had to do something to save Dick’s life and I had this vision. I knew I was special in a way that I never felt before. Remember my head was in bandages from being attacked a week earlier. I still had the stitches in my arm.

I knew that Dick was special. Everyone said so. He worked Wall Street, he worked as a Junkman. He spoke five languages and he was a high roller playing baccarat in Atlantic City. He was a guru of Junk and I was special because I was there with him when no one else was there on the coldest day when the storms were coming. A couple of feet of snow was forecast which was a big deal  for New York.

I knew I was special. I never get sick, I never stop working, unless it is to relate a story . This business is a religion for me, with life lessons that I knew other people will be interested in one day.

Zen and the art of trash handling, I guess.

I knew I was driven to understand….

The winds whipped up. The snow started forming. It was a twister.

“Dick are you alright in there?”

He came out with a pot he shit in,” I feel much better.”

He took his shit curbside and put it in a city garbage can that was starting to fill with snow. Dick’s shit sat on top of the snow like a cherry on cream.

He washed the pot in the snow.

A guy in charge of the flea market came by and was surprised to see anyone there.

“There’s no market today. The snows are coming now and not going to stop anytime soon.”

I said goodbye to Dick and left with the pot he shit in. I bought it for a quarter. I never sold it or used it.

It’s my rosebud.


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