Thursday, August 11, 2005
I piss on your grave
I don't think anyone would call Abe Hirschfeld an upstanding citizen, but this column from the New York Post yesterday has to be the worst appraisal of a life as I've seen in a long time.
If it's wrong to speak ill of the dead, then let me be wrong. I once spent a month in close working proximity to "Honest Abe," as he called himself, and the scars have yet to heal.
In my 55 years, I have not encountered a personality so possessed of Iago-like, motiveless malignity — a mind animated by equal parts greed and cruelty, and wily and ruthless enough to get away with it
But those in business and politics who suffered Hirschfeld's treachery and mercurial moods will, if they're honest, vilify him into the wee hours. So will tenants in apartment buildings he controlled who put up with an encyclopedic array of rent-gouging and petty abuse.
Abe Hirschfeld was Public Enemy No. 1 — a truth obscured by his amusing way with a joke in his Yiddish accent and a reputation for being "zany."
In fact, he was a terrifying, classic borderline-personality case, and one can only wonder what misery he inflicted on those closest to him. When he told dirty jokes or declared that he was "in the caliber of Einstein," it was funny — but you laughed trepidatiously. Evil dwelled behind the clown mask and it wasn't well concealed.