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A Texas Two-Fer in Harper's, Plus Dag is Doing Good


by Jerome Weeks 18 May 2010

Texas author and TSU prof Dagoberto Gilb has a little hot streak going when it comes to major magazines. Earlier this month, his short story, “Uncle Rock,” was published in The New Yorker, along with a “Book Bench” Q&A with him on The New Yorker‘s website. Then, in the new (June) issue of Harper’s, his […]

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Texas author and TSU prof Dagoberto Gilb has a little hot streak going when it comes to major magazines. Earlier this month, his short story, “Uncle Rock,” was published in The New Yorker, along with a “Book Bench” Q&A with him on The New Yorker‘s website. Then, in the new (June) issue of Harper’s, his short story, “please, thank you,” appears, which, as might be apparent from the un-capitalized title, is one of his stylistically more adventurous tales. Because of that, because of its bitter humor and because the narrator is partly paralyzed in a hospital and travels mostly by wheelchair, it recalls a Samuel Beckett short story.

That same issue of Harper’s also has a noteworthy piece of non-fiction: “All That Glitters: An ex-jeweler reveals the art of the swindle” (subs. req.)– in which Clancy Martin, former Fort Worth jeweler, UT-Austin grad and current associate professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri, continues his class in the art of the lie in luxury retail. Our education began with his gritty, funny, noir-ish debut novel, How to Sell. This time, instead of taking us backstage at a major North Texas ring-and-watch-and-loose-diamond emporium, where the employees are strung out on crystal meth and are cheating the clients, Martin visits Vegas for the JCK, the annual Jeweler’s Circular Keystone trade show. I worked a summer in a jewelery store, but that long-ago industry was not much like this industry, when gold is more than $1200 an ounce and estate buyers go from town to town “all for the purpose of (more or less) stealing your jewelry.”

Plus, there’s a shiny, major Dallas connect:

I run into my old friend Robert Loving, vice-president of sales for Time Delay Corporation, the best counterfeiter of Rolex parts in the world. They call them “Rolex replacement parts”; Rolexes get worn with time — gold is soft — and jewelers have to replace stretched-out bands and worn-down gold bezels. … What you do is buy the counterfeit buckles and winding crown …and then use the top-notch replacement bracelet and bezel from Time Delay to make an old Rolex stainless-steel head look like a brand-new ladies’ two-tone… presto, the watch has doubled in value and looks brand-new.

Time Delay is just down the street from the Rolex headquarters in Dallas, and I ask Robert how they avoid the wrath of the Swiss monolith.

“They could shut us down in a second if they wanted to,” he admits. “But we are very scrupulous about declaring that we are not making Rolex products or parts.”

They don’t stamp them “Time Delay,” however, but I don’t point out this fact to Robert.

And then there’s this:

Greed hustles even the hustlers. The abrupt departure of Rolex’s chief executive officer Patrick Heiniger in 2008 for “personal reasons,” was followed immediately by the company’s denials that it had lost $900 million with Bernard Madoff.

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