Sad news from Southern California: Don “Mr. Wizard” Herbert, who taught several generations of kids to mix beakers of liquids together to produce strange and educational results, has passed away at the age of 89.
When I heard the news, what came to mind was the same thing that always comes to my mind when I think of Mr. Wizard: that one of my high school science teachers had told us that he had taken science classes from Herbert. I’ve kinda taken a certain pride in the notion that I studied science with one of Mr. Wizard’s students–which is an odd thing to take pride in, given that I was a truly terrible science student.
But Herbert’s obit, or at least the one in the LA Times, seems to suggest that he was an actor, not a teacher. I’m now confronted with the possibility that my teacher was one of millions of Mr. Wizard fans, and was speaking metaphorically. Or I had a false memory. Or something.
(Actually, I think it’s possible that many of my memories of my school days are groundless: For years, I had vivid memories of watching the first moon landing at kindergarten in 1969. Until someone gently pointed out to me that I wouldn’t have been in class in July…)