Special Episode - The Old Guard - Talking with the Late Steve Bachner

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By Ben Brown and Geeks Rising. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The Tourette community lost a hero Dec. 15, someone I named on the very first episode (Season 1, Episode 0) of Tourette's Podcast. Steve Bachner was my first frame of reference for TS. Seeing him on an episode of 20/20 in the late 1980s was my first time seeing someone else with the disorder, and there he was, Steve, being followed by John Stossel and cameras, in a shopping mall, Steve ticcing to the fullest. I remember being a little kid guffawing at people's reactions to Steve, with a least one citizen observer telling the show he assumed he was probably high on drugs. The observer wouldn't have guessed Steve was living with a disorder that throws involuntary sounds and movements. I knew all about it.

I met Steve not long after at a national Tourette Association of America (then called the Tourette Syndrome Association) conference and confirmed his heroism to me. Steve was kind, funny, witty, and willing to be talk to me like a human being. I never forgot it.

We reconnected after I started Tourette's Podcast in 2018 and always talked about doing an interview. Sadly, Steve's health was declining; scheduling would be hit or miss, with very wide latitude granted to all the rest and recuperation time he needed. But we eventually, in May 2020, found the chance to record. It wasn't our dream interview; it would have been but the phone line was noisy and made listening a challenge. But, after some audio cleanup, and now in Steve's memory, it's here and it covers a lot of amazing ground.

This is old-school Tourette Syndrome, with critical cracks at sensational coverage from Stossel, Geraldo, Springer and others who orbited Steve's disorder. They got to know his Tourette (or maybe a thin dimension of it) but did they ever get to know him as a person? (His friend Robin Williams did; Steve describes him here as a "soulmate.")

I'm so lucky to have counted him a hero and saddened at his absence now. So this one is dedicated to the loving memory of Steve Bachner.

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