The Brains of the Operation
posted: June 25, 2007
Hanging out at Columbia....
Nineteen years ago I met Barry, and we've been together ever since. He'd been a newspaperman for more than twenty years, first as a reporter in the wilds of New Jersey, then at the Hartford Courant, eventually moving onto the copy desk at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which is where he was working when we met. He was smart and funny and handsome and, Whoa! He liked me, too!

In the mid-'90's, he started getting interested in what exactly makes computers work. He bought a couple of baby books on the subject, and before I knew it, he was reading calculus books - for fun! - at night. He wound up going to Hunter College, and got a second bachelors degree, this time in computer science. He decided to go for a Masters, and was accepted at Columbia University, all the while continuing to work on the National Desk at The Times.

Less than a year into his Masters, he was asked to become a doctoral student, and after some gnashing of teeth, he quit his job at The Times and started going to school full time.

The long and the short of it is that now I can call up a restaurant to make a reservation for DOCTOR  Schiffman and me. And I DID it, once, when we celebrated his graduation.

Barry spends his days up at Columbia where he works as a research scientist, and poses for my illustration assignments in his spare time. I've painted him hundreds of times: he's been a wizard, a monster, a murderer, a saint, and everything in between, but it's rare that I paint a straight-ahead portrait of the person I love most in the world.

So here it is, Barry with his Alma Mater.