Synapse: May 24, 1990

Thursday, May 28, 2015

From 25 Years Ago:
Vol. 34, No. 31, May 24, 1990:

The Synapse issue that came out 25 years captured an exciting time in UCSF history. The front page was crowded with a number of memorable stories, with front-page stories “Doogie Howser Appointed to Faculty”, by Jean Yuss, “Trump Buys UCSF”, by Lo Sell Hi, and “UC cardiologist to fight Mike Tyson,” by Lowell Comb.

Now you might be thinking, why did UCSF decide to hire Howser. Well, Chancellor Julius R. Krevans was quoted as saying “This child prodigy, this Renaissance lad, is just what our institution needs. His youth, energy and clinical abilities can revitalize UCSF.” But Krevans soon said more that revealed that what seemed like a genuine interest in a boy genius might have really just been about the money: “Since his fellow teens all make $3.75 an hour in fast food chains, he should be satisfed with the relatively low salary we have established for him,” Krevans said. I guess that Howser realized he was getting a raw deal, or maybe just got tired of teaching medical students and saving lives, because now he just hosts award shows and acts and stuff like that.

In another interesting story, we learned that “Millberry Union Bookstore manager Peter Crigger has been approached by the U.S. Secret Service to serve as Mikhai Gorbachev’s “stand-in” during the Soviet president’s upcoming Bay Area visit.” Evidently, Gorbachev wanted some time to get in some secret golf lessons. Crigger was interested, so long as he could meet with Gorbachev to “’to compare notes on cutting bureaucracy and restoration of the free market.’”

There was an article that sought to help medical students choose their best specialty by comparing themselves to various celebrities. For example, if you resemble the teenage mutant ninja turtles, pediatrics might be a good fit because all the kids would know and love you. On the other hand, if you have the “big biceps” of Arnold Schwarzenegger, then orthopedic surgery would work well. Some of the recommendations I suspect will resonate more with readers with sharper memories of 1990, such as the recommendation that if you’re like “Dr. Jacoby” (he of “two-toned glasses and tropical fiesta wear,”) psychiatry would be a good path. In addition, revelations since this article was written make some of the recommendations hold up poorly. In particular: “Obstetrics: Bill Cosby. The researchers found that 92 percent of expectant mothers trust anybody who wears multi-colored sweaters, eats jello pudding and tells humorous anecdotes about his or her childhood.”

Even at the time, the issue probably didn’t please everyone. An article on the front page declared, “Humor Issue Cancelled,” which was probably disappointing.