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Goodbye and Thank You Dick Clark

April 18, 2012
Publicity photo of Dick Clark as host of the t...

Publicity photo of Dick Clark as host of the television game show The $10,000 Pyramid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, after having been preoccupied for the last week with my taxes and a big interview that required my attention I have no shortage of things that have been festering in my mind to write about.  I was in the middle of writing my thoughts on that journalist Samantha Brick – the woman who wrote an editorial on why being beautiful has been a curse for her – when I heard the news that Dick Clark passed away this morning.

So I am putting my story on said inspirational woman aside to share a tribute to a man who was a great influence to me.  Of course, blogs and tributes are popping up everywhere on the internet right now all of which were written by much better writers than myself, but Dick Clark’s impact on me as a child was different than most so I feel compelled to join the party.

You see, music is a huge part of my life and who I am, but when I think about Dick Clark I don’t think about music at all.  I had never even heard of American Bandstand because I used all of the TV time my parents would allow to watch game shows.  As a child of the 80s and early 90s (well, I pretty much thought of myself as a child up through my late 20s but you know what I mean) I grew up during the height of the television game show.  I was obsessed with game shows while growing up and still would be if it weren’t for the decline of outstanding hosts like Monty Hall, Jack Barry, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, and Bob Barker just to name a few.  Check this out and tell me you don’t have fond childhood memories of many of these greats.  I mean seriously, I’ll take Gene Rayburn over some random hot blond chick with an Australian accent any day – even the generic but sharp-witted Alan Ludden would be a huge step up.

I don’t know if my love of game shows sparked my love of mathematics or if it was the other way around, but I do know that the combination of the two was fundamental in the development of a gifted but quirky and socially awkward adolescent.

If it weren’t for game shows that helped a young mind develop some degree of language and social skills like n*$1000 Pyramid (where n is a positive integer ≤ 100, depending on the iteration of the show; i.e. between 1977 and 1978 during the daytime series n = 25; thus $25,000 Pyramid) I don’t know if I would have ever managed to become a functional member of society at all.

And now that I think about it, my love of game shows isn’t just related to the mathematical nature of my mind, but it also explains why despite my struggles with interpersonal communication,  I’m a very good teacher.  Picture any of those legendary hosts – they’re all captivating, funny, clever and entertaining in front of an audience but if they behaved and spoke the same way in every-day life they would be terribly annoying, rude, arrogant, or just plain strange – and in some cases would be in jail for sexual harassment (yes I’m talking to you Richard Dawson).  Now I by no means harass any gender, race or group but I do enjoy challenging boundaries and pushing limits.  And I’ve always managed to do it in a manner that sparks healthy discussion and reflection without being overly inappropriate.

So no matter what the rest of the world thinks of your legacy, Dick, to me you will always be remembered as one of those game show hosts that inspired all of the qualities that made me so unpopular as a student but effective and popular as a teacher.  Thank you.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2012 7:24 pm

    I like your tribute. It’s the first one I’ve seen. I am saddened by his death. Thank you for writing this. I was hoping someone would. XO

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