My eighth grade teacher Nathan Levine was the only one of my teachers up to that grade level who happened to be male, and a very good-looking male at that even though he wore glasses. He was tall, had blue eyes, light brown hair, a fun sense of humor and a devastating smile. All the female teens and almost teens [like me] in the class were all agog, and they suddenly began bathing daily and dressing to the nines for school.
The day I joined the Cult of Mr. Levine Worshippers was the day we got a graded creative writing assignment back. I loved to write even more than I loved to read. I was ecstatic to receive an A+. Right beneath the letter grade was a note that read, “Very good dialogue!”
At this point, I must reveal my ignorance back then. I did not know what the word dialogue meant. I was a voracious reader from age four on. I saw quotation marks around the words spoken by characters in the books I read, but I didn’t know the terminology for those spoken words.
I was curious to learn what the word dialogue meant so I went up to Mr. Levine after class and asked. He explained, pointing to the words enclosed in quotation marks, and then he told me that he believed I was a very talented writer. My heart nearly burst with joy, and in that moment Mr. Levine became my dream man.
I worshiped him from afar, of course. I believe Mr. Levine must have imprinted on me a preference for men with both intelligence and charm, because as I matured I could not abide the company of men without those qualities. I spent many a Saturday night home alone with a good book. Unlike some dates, a good book never disappoints.
Flash forward to March 9, 2014. I turned on the television to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. I sat back, a passenger on the Ship of the Imagination, entranced by the series host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Wow. Talk about charisma. Tyson has it by the ton.
In addition to all that charisma, he’s brilliant. He holds a B.A. in Physics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Columbia University. He is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. He is also tall, good-looking, has bedroom eyes and has the most engaging smile. [Try not to smile back at him. I double-dog-dare you.]
In the November 14, 2000 issue of People Magazine, the magazine’s annual “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, Tyson was voted “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive.” They sure got that right. Even his name sounds sexy. 🙂
Yeppers. You guessed it. Watching Cosmos brought out the schoolgirl in me again, and I have a brand new crush: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D.
I loved the way Tyson explained the makeup of our universe in terms other viewers and I could understand easily, and he did it without talking down to us. I loved his enthusiasm for his subject matter. I loved the fact that he didn’t try to disguise how much fun he was having in sharing his knowledge with us. And I loved the way he used his irresistible charm to make the science of astrophysics captivating—and even sexy.
Tyson is so appealing a presence that it raises my hopes that he just might be the one to encourage young people to aspire to be rock star scientists instead of rock star musicians. Miracles can and do happen.
I’ve watched every episode of Cosmos so far, and I watched them more than once since Cosmos is shown on both the Fox and National Geographic channels but on different nights of the week. Waiting for the next new voyage on the Ship of the Imagination makes a week seem so much longer than seven days and it tries my patience.
Be still my heart; it’s only Tuesday. From my vantage point, it will take freaking forever for Sunday night to get here so I can continue to worship Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., from afar. How will I stand the strain? ::sigh::