blog 1: In which I explain the debilitating symptoms of richard dreyfuss syndrome.

The character of Ishmael from my book Don’t Call Me Ishmael! suffers from Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome which causes him to do embarrassing things in public. I sort of know how he feels. I suffer from Richard Dreyfuss Syndrome. Maybe you do too.

Do you ever come up with what you think are brilliant earth-shattering ideas only to suddenly realise that they’re a load of rubbish? Do you ever make bold, confident statements only to find out almost immediately that you are completely and utterly wrong? If so, then like me, you might be suffering from ‘Richard Dreyfuss Syndrome’ – RDS for short.

And why do I call it the Richard Dreyfuss Syndrome I hear you ask?

Well the answer is because the American actor Richard Dreyfuss was at the centre of my most embarrassing and humiliating attack ever. It happened like this:

One day Adrie and I were watching an old movie that was supposed to have Richard Dreyfuss in it. We’d been watching it a while but he hadn’t been sighted. Now, I know Richard Dreyfuss. I like him as an actor. He’s been in many great movies – Mr Holland’s Opus, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, What about Bob?, American Graffiti etc. So we’re watching the movie and this young boy appears and the following conversation takes place:

Me: There he is! That’s him!

Adrie: Who?

Me: Richard Dreyfuss. That kid, that’s him. That’s Richard Dreyfuss as a boy!

Adrie: Are you sure? He’s really young. I don’t think that’s him.

Me: What, are you mad? Of course it’s him. It’s an old film. Probably his very first role.

Adrie: I don’t know …

Me: What is wrong with you? Are you blind? It looks exactly like him. And what about the voice? No one else talks like that. Of course it’s Richard Dreyfuss! Who else could that be but Richard Dreyfuss?

Then at that moment on the screen the young boy character answers a knock at the door and when he opens it, standing there is … RICHARD DREYFUSS!!!!!!!! … and to make matters worse he looks exactly like he does in all his other movies.

Now here’s the thing. Yes I was wrong. Yes I made a complete jackass of myself BUT if the roles had been reversed and my wife had been the one who made the mistake I’m sure my reaction would have been something like, “Oh look sweetie, there’s Richard Dreyfuss. Who would have thought? He wasn’t the young boy after all. But hey, that was a mistake anyone could have made. The resemblance really is uncanny!” I certainly wouldn’t have shrieked in hysterical laughter and pointed at the other person and called them names like ‘dork’ and ‘dag’ and other ones beginning with ‘d’!

Naturally that teeny-weeny error of judgement has haunted me ever since. Where once I used to enjoy seeing that a Richard Dreyfuss movie was going to be TV, now if one is programmed I hide the TV Guide from Adrie so that she doesn’t know. Not that it makes much difference. I still get reminded regularly of my bout of RDS. Here are just 4 examples of many over the years:


Me: Ard what’s the name of the guy who won the Olympic gold medal in the high jump?



Adrie: Mike you’re wanted on the phone!

Me: Whose is it?

Adrie: Not sure – sounded a bit like RICHARD DREYFUSS.


Adrie (while watching a wildlife documentary where a great ape is nursing her new-born baby) : Am I mistaken or is she holding a very young RICHARD DREYFUSS?


Me: Ard, what’s a seven letter word for ‘biting humour’?

Ard: Would it be RICHARD DREYFUSS?

So you see I have a great deal to put up with which is why I am widely regarded as a saint. But anyway as I said at the start if you also have a tendency to blurt out bold statements and then find you’ve made a complete jackass out of yourself, then do what I do. Blame Richard Dreyfuss.

You are also encouraged to share your stories of personal humiliation on this blog where they will treated with the utmost confidentiality.

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18 Responses to blog 1: In which I explain the debilitating symptoms of richard dreyfuss syndrome.

  1. Michael, a FB friend of mine who read this post suggested that you watch this:

    “Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? ‘Wrongologist’ Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting but embracing our fallibility.”

    I think my friend is saying you ought to embrace your Richard Dreyfuss Syndrome!


    • mgbauer says:

      Well I watched all of that Margaret and I think that lady in the video just justified my entire existence as did St Augustine whom she quoted, “I err therefore I am.”


  2. Adrie says:

    I would like to state for the record, that I have never uttered those cruel (although very bitingly witty and funny) comments that are attributed to me on the opening page. (Secretly wish I did now!)
    I have made comments over the years but it was always with regard to Mike’s attempts at trying to recognise someone in a movie. I’ve worked out he’s not too good on visual cues. (Shall I mention the time that he was talking to a woman at a school and she went away to do something and came back about an hour later and Mike re-introduced himself to her – like they’d never met?? Shall I go on….)


  3. Oh darn it, Michael! I was trying to wean myself off too much facebooking and other related screen-reading activities and now you’ve started a blog!


  4. Welcome to the world of blogging, Michael. Have to warn you, it’s addictive!! Love your first post. 🙂
    PS WordPress is the best! 🙂 Pages are very versatile as are the Widgits.


  5. I sooooo love that you’re blogging. First facebook, then the blog, next it will be world domination. I can hear your maniacal laugh from here! xx


  6. Natalie Hatch says:

    My dad used to hold on to things you did/said that weren’t quite sane and then if I brought a guy home or a friend was over Dad would pull out the big guns just to keep me humble.


  7. Yay, a Michael blog! If you keep up this quality of entertainment, I’ll be hooked, Michael. In fact, I’m adding the feed to my Google Reader right now. Huzzah!


  8. I too suffer from RDS, but at least my husband only teases me about it once. Could be because he also has the syndrome, or because his memory failing. But whatever it is I feel for you.


  9. mgbauer says:

    Thanks Carol. I see there’s a backlog of RD movies to catch up on. He was also briefly in a TV series where he played a University Lecturer who writes a hit novel. Can’t remember what it was called. No one else besides me ever saw it I think, but it was great.


  10. mgbauer says:

    Michael Pryor as the first (and possibly only) person to comment on my blog! As Charlie Sheen would say ‘Winning!’ It’s all downhill from here.
    I didn’t know RD was in The Graduate but you’re absolutely right and Wikipedia tells me his one line was “Shall I get the cops? I’ll get the cops.” I bet he was great! And I agree. No one does a mash potato mountain like Richard Dreyfuss!


  11. Carol Warner says:

    Too funny, MGB! ~ I love Richard Dreyfuss. ‘Once Around’ and ‘Always’ are my favourites.


  12. Michael Pryor says:

    He did have a tiny, tiny part in ‘The Graduate’, didn’t he?

    Regardless, RD is probably the architect of much that happens in the world and can adequately be cited for most things. A great man, a great mashed potato sculptor.


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