I wasn’t crazy about the idea of sharing an office with an attorney like Leo Klein at IDT Entertainment, initially because I’d learned from experience that the best office mate is really no office mate. And my suspicion was confirmed as I discovered that Leo was what cunning linguists refer to as a wee bit verbose—as in he could go to Washington with a mouthful of billiard balls and still out talk everyone. Which, to this writer, meant I’d never get anything written between the hours of 9am and 6pm. Hi ho.
But rooming with Leo—a man who introduced himself as a recovering attorney—also had several distinct advantages, not the least of which was an endless supply of dangerously well told new jokes, at least new to me. Indeed, the one about the bowling ball still has me roaring at inappropriate moments, often with milk through my nose. Leo, clearly, had missed his true calling. Or so I thought.
But eventually I caught Leo with his lawyer hat on. And oddly enough, his stock shot up again. I saw how he handled himself not only with his NBA clients, but also with those occasional nebich cases that wandered into his four cubits. One guy in particular wanted Leo to handle his wife’s funeral arrangement, estate, and so forth, but when Leo learned that the woman was to be cremated, he refused. “She’s a Jewish girl,” he told the client as I looked on in awe. “She had a Jewish mother and a Jewish father. If you’re not giving her a proper burial, I can’t help you. Nazis burn Jews. Jews don’t burn Jews.”
Other than an Elton John tale, which I published years ago, I have far less interesting Leo stories in my quiver than have many of our common friends, but every one has left an indelible impression. And all of this is simply to say that having this fine and ethical and seemingly inexhaustible man in my corner is a comfort and an honor and a privilege.