Rob Baedeker of Kasper Hauser wrote this wonderful piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about cheapskates -- and about one cheapskate in particular, named Dan. It may be that Rob knows man people named Dan, and I am speaking out of school when I suggest that this Dan might be Kasper Hauser's Dan Klein, but the presence in the piece of two corroborating witnesses named James and John (the names of Kasper Hauser's other two members) seems like a bit of a smoking gun.
Dan is also a cheapskate. He's certainly treated me to meals on occasion, but the payment has always been accompanied by a certain body language -- a flicker of profound, existential pain at the prospect of parting with his cash. It's the look of a Depression-era mother putting her infant on a freight train so that it might chance into a better life elsewhere.
Dan has also given me gifts, but they tend to be bush-league gifts. On his recent trip to Germany he brought me and a couple of other friends some kind of canned meats.
Sure, he didn't have to bring us gifts, but canned meat? The gesture was half joke, half symptom of what I see as a larger tension in the cheapskate's soul.
And by the by (and this is completely unsolicited), Rob is an exceptional writer who recently went freelance, so if you've got a gig, you might think of him. I can put you in touch.