By George Capsis
“Oh my, Tekserve is closing,” I said as I read the morning Times.
I have a funny history with this quirky store on 23rd Street that was the first to sell Apple computers.
Some years ago I thought they should be taking an ad in WestView so I asked for the boss David Lerner and to my mild surprise they called him in his basement office and to my greater surprise he came up the stairs a heavy set bespectacled techie looking man in his sixties.
“How can I help you” he intoned expecting I suddenly realized that wanted to do an article on the store, gulp – I made some nervous talk and reached for my only computer card “ I use to work at IBM in Corporate Communications”?
He looked at me with lidded eyes and asked, “Did you know Arnold Lerner”?
Yow, did I know Arnold Lerner – I hated Arnold Lerner – just hated him.
The story goes – a film crew was shooting old man Tom Watson the puritan salesman who started IBM and Arnold Lerner was the unit manager (keeps the time sheet) and Watson thought him the boss and offered him a job to head up the film department (in those days they made “industrials” – films that only the stock holders were forced to see at the annual meeting.
Because I went to the CCNY Film Institute and had been a production manger for a TV commercial house he might have seen me as competition but there was so little film work done we had nothing to fight about.
What I did was write articles on how IBM computers were shaping the future and one of mine made the Times under the byline of the Pulitzer winning science editor and I got a fat raise and earn the hatred of two guys over me who maneuvered to have me report to Arnold Lerner so I would get so mad I would walk out.
I did not think of Arnold until that moment when David Lerner said
“He was my Uncle.”