Doctor Gruber and the Dockta Facockta Story
Dr. Samuel Gruber is a South Florida shark Biologist, He is a professor at the University of Miami’s Rosentiel School for Marine and atmospheric science, and he holds a MS and PH D in marine science. Doctor Gruber is the founder of the Bimini Biologic Field Station Foundation. At the Bimini Field Station, Doctors, professors and shark biology students from all over the world come to study sharks with him. In 2008 Dr. Gruber appeared on the History Channels documentary series about sharks. When it comes to Lemon Sharks, Dr. Gruber is the world’s foremost authority.
My Wife and I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with Dr. Sonny Gruber, it happened because we were friends with Richard Schneider.
Richard Schneider was in the Marine and boating business, and whenever he had free time he would assist Dr. Gruber in provisioning the Bimini Shark Institute. All the provisions had to be transported 50 miles from Miami to Bimini by boat. So Richard, as a good friend, would always help Dr. Gruber whenever he could, by making the trip back and forth to Bimini. On many occasions they arrived late in the afternoon so Richard would stay overnight at the institute.
Richard told me that he always enjoyed staying at the institute. He said there was only one thing he didn’t like. Every evening when they all sat down for supper, Dr. Gruber would make the introductions so everyone at the institute knew who was sitting at the table. Most all of the visitors were Professors or biologists that held Doctorate degrees. So Dr. Gruber would introduce each as Doctor. As he went around the table, the visitors who were from all over the world, were each introduced as Doctor So and So, Gruber did that because they all held doctorate degrees. That was until he got to Richard, who he would introduce only as “My friend Richard Schneider”. Richard lamented that he felt insignificant in the presence of so many highly educated people with Doctorate degrees, and he had no degree.
I had remembered watching the Sid Caesar show on television many years ago where Sid Caesar, had made believe he was speaking German and introduced himself in a skit as “Dockta Facockta”, In Yiddish Facockta means something that is pretty crappy.
I suggested to Richard that he tell Dr. Gruber, that the next time he was making introductions at the shark institute, he should introduce Richard as Dockta Facockta, but I don’t think Richard liked my idea too much.
Several months later, one summer evening Richard was delivering a racing boat from Miami to Fort Lauderdale. My wife Katherine and I and Doctor Gruber were waiting for Richard to arrive at the marina. We were all going to Tarks seafood restaurant once Richard arrived. It was pretty dark and we were afraid Richard had gotten lost, so Doctor Gruber called Richard on his cell phone. I took the phone and I said Dockta Facockta where are you?
Doctor Gruber’s eyed got big, and he said, who is Dockta Facockta? I said that’s the name I gave to RichardSo you can introduce him at the Shark Institute. Doctor Gruber was silent for a moment, then he said. “No Way, I want to be Dockta Facockta.