mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

A Gary David Goldberg Story I Enjoyed

As some of you already know, it was reported yesterday that Gary David Goldberg, the creator of the TV shows Family Ties and Brooklyn Bridge, had died. I read his autobiography "Sit, Ubu, Sit" when it came out in 2008, and the story he told on page 108 of how he finally earned his college degree stayed with me. I love this story so much that I have taken the time to type it up so I could share it with you. Enjoy.

From "Sit, Ubu, Sit" by Gary David Goldberg:

"...I am also scheduled to receive my B.A. and graduate next term. However, at the last minute, after one and a half years at San Diego, two years at Brandeis, three years at Hofstra, semesters scattered about at Long Beach State, UC Berkeley, and San Francisco State, after thirteen years in college, I am told I'm still short one unit of biology.

"I go to the head of the Biology Department, Dr. Claude Merzbacher, and explain my story. I've been in college since the presidency of John F. Kennedy. I have a family. Diana's going to be teaching at USC. I'm going up to L.A. with her to try to be a comedy writer. I love biology as much as the next guy, but I don't have time to make up this one unit.

"Dr. Merzbacher's great. He totally gets it, and tells me he'll give me the one unit. Three conditions. One: Go out in the backyard tonight and write a page or two about what I see and hear. Two: I have to promise that if I ever write about scientists in general, and biologists in particular, I will portray them in a positive light. And three: If I ever win an award or I'm asked to make a speech, I will give the audience one scientific fact to take home with them. I promise. I get my one unit, and I graduate.

"Three years later I will win the Writers Guild Award for Best Comedy Script for an episode of M*A*S*H. Nate Monaster will be in the audience. I have the privilege of thanking him publicly for all he's done for me. And then I tell those assembled: 'Photosynthesis is a process by which energy in sunlight is used to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen.'"
Tags: books, science, television

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