Mild-Mannered Canadian Fury

Doug Stephen is Politely Peeved

Life Lessons

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 «permalink»

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Wendell Griffith was one of the most influential and important teachers I had in my educational career, regardless of the fact that what he taught and what I do aren’t even related.

He used to call me “Chatty Cathy on Acid”. I never did my homework, I turned all of my projects in late, and didn’t take notes in his class. But I still aced his tests, and it made him furious. Both because he recognized that I was skating by without exercising my full potential, and because I was ruining his reputation as a badass. He used to take me out of the classroom and yell at me in the college campus courtyard over it.

He passed away from cancer. I think he knew it would happen, even before he was diagnosed with it. He smoked cigars like a chimney. But it was firmly his prerogative, and woe be unto you if you tried to tell him, a former Marine, otherwise.

I’ll miss him. I know you don’t know him, and never had the relationship with him that I had. But if you can take the time out of your day to watch his video, his last “lecture”, I hope that you can gain something from it the way I gained from spending years around him. I can pretty firmly say that I wouldn’t be out here in the world building exoskeletons for paralyzed people or working with NASA or doing any of the other things that I do if it wasn’t, at least in part, for this man.