Yesterday, the news broke that Jerry Doyle, the one and only Michael Garibaldi from Babylon 5, had passed away. Now, I don’t really talk about celebrity deaths. A lot of people I admire have gone beyond the veil in this and previous years (we lost Patrick Troughton before I was ten, and as far as I’m concerned it’s been downhill from then on), but I’m not a big believer in collective grief, so I don’t engage with it – either here, or elsewhere.
Today, I’m going to break that rule. Why? Because years and years ago, Jerry taught me an important lesson. Not about politics (man, our politics could not be more different), and not in person. But by example.
Babylon 5 was just starting to gather momentum at the time. In an interview (probably in Dreamwatch Magazine – it’s been a few years, my memory’s allowed to be spotty), Jerry spoke candidly about having left Wall Street to pursue a career in acting. The only problem was, he didn’t have an acting resume. So he made one up. It went unchallenged, and it led him into the career that became one of the reasons he’s on so many newsfeeds today.
So I learned about doctored resumes? No. Not exactly. But I was well into my teenage years at the time, and starting to have an inkling that the path laid out before me by production-line education wasn’t the right one. It’d take years before I found the opportunities and the courage to start on the writer’s path, but I’ve known for years that the seed was planted there, with an interview with a man who found his calling and did everything he could to follow it – even if it looked insane to everyone else. It proved to me that talent, hard work and determination can carry you to the places you want to go, if you’ll let them.
Or as he put it himself, in an interview at IGN just after I began working at Games Workshop:
‘I’m not sure what I want to do when I grow up, or if I’m sure I ever want to grow up. I’m sure there are people that wish I would, but you know, my mom will get over it.
So thanks, Jerry. And may the Gods always stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk.