January 2010 | Steve Alburty

Leif leaves leaves

These are, given the boundaries of second-hand journalism, the facts about Irving Leif , 62, of Jersey City, New Jersey.  

On January 17th, 2010, Mr. Leif had $14 to his name.  He lived in an apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey, which cost him $1,892.00 per month. Therefore, the possibility of eviction for Mr. Leif had become somewhat of a given.

What is also certain is that he owned a fairly impressive collection of books.  3,000 volumes. It took him 40 years to collect, and among its treasures was the most complete set of the Mother Earth pamphlets published by the early 20th-century anarchist, Emma Goldman.

Mr. Leif had been living off a family trust fund, but Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme had consumed all that, except for, it is assumed, the $14.00.

Among Ms. Goldman's many observations about the human condition, her most precise, and one which Mr. Leif may have assumed as his own personal rationale in amassing a book collection beyond his means, was, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."