Steven was a very smart man. They don’t just hand out Ph.D.’s in mathematics at Ohio University. I always loved to hear his analysis of everything from a Seinfeld episode to Ohio State’s offense. I especially enjoyed these analyses because Steven was able to keep up with many intriguing topics that I simply couldn’t. I absolutely loved professional sports growing up, but my three oldest children weren’t particularly interested, so I had to spend time in areas they liked. As I mentioned in a previous post, I appreciated how objective he could be. Even though he was a devoted Buckeye fan, that devotion didn’t blind him. I remember a couple of games (not many) where Ohio State was heavily favored and lost. Beforehand, Steven had warned me that the individual matchups weren’t good for Ohio State, or styles of offense on one side of the ball and defense on the other didn’t bode well for the Buckeyes.
But, our most fun and playful conversations were analyses of Seinfeld and other entertainment. During the workweek, Steven was very much a homebody, consuming hours of the Big Ten Network, movies, or Seinfeld Shortly before we met, I had published an academic article on Seinfeld, “Seinfeld, Professor of Organizational Behavior: The Psychological Contract and Systems Thinking” https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2326257. In order to do so, back in the day, Amy and I set the VCR to record every rerun aired. Then we would speed watch them, trying to get the material I needed for the publication. Needless to say, I was up to speed on Seinfeld, but my knowledge was no match for Steven’s. Seriously, he may have had every script of every show memorized. In my remarks for Steven’s memorial service (spoiler alert), I commented about how our relationship was like the Odd Couple, and Steven often analyzed our lives and friendship through the lens of Jerry and George. Steven always put himself in the role of George, which I didn’t quite understand, but it came from a place of deep humility within him.
We shared a love for so many great movies, such as Groundhog Day Steven also turned our family on to what is now one of our all-time favorites, The Man Who Knew Too Little. Watch either of these movies, or any Godfather movie, and you can be sure Steven will be with you, watching over your shoulder. 🙂