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Postcard to David Letterman

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Congrats, Dave, on announcing your retirement for next year! I read about your retiring in the Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post, prior to watching your Late Show last night.

I used to be an NBC summer associate (not a page, but a paid intern) back when you were making it big at 30 Rock (when "RCA" letters crowned the now "GE" building)! Oh yes, the summer of 1986...

That spring, college students were flying into NYC for only six NBC summer associate positions. I, on the other hand, plopped a subway token to transport myself from Columbia's Upper West Side campus to midtown on the #1 train - for my first ever real job interview... to become an assistant to a Space Planner. (What's a Space Planner? As a naive college sophomore, I didn't care -- that was the closest engineering job I'll ever get at that age! Plus, NBC seemed like a cool place to be...)

Unknown Columbia students (back when Columbia just turned co-ed in the 1980s) befriended me halfway through my summer internship because they wanted Late Night with David Letterman tickets or impossible Saturday Night Live tickets. I only treated two former high school classmates who visited me from Florida tickets to the taping of Late Night with David Letterman! It didn't matter who his guests were because it was David Letterman! He was funny! Still is!

My tiny cubicle office at NBC was down the corridor from The Donahue Show (for millennials reading The Huffington Post, Phil Donahue preceded Oprah!). Dave, you would not have noticed me as a college intern. I was the nerdy Asian girl -- though proud as a peacock -- zipping through the NBC hallways and stairwells with my clipboard to look important. I recall your Biff Henderson once stopping me 'cause they were about to shoot a Late Night skit in the U-shaped lobby of six elevators. "Can I watch?" I nervously asked. Biff said something like "Sure. But step aside." I waited anxiously with no clue what was about to transpire... Sidekick Chris Elliott (skinny with his straggly long blonde hair) comes running out of one opened-door elevator with no clothes on, except for a pair of large diapers! NBC should have taped my "shock and awe" face!

Dave, because your old office was on the 14th Floor -- way on the other side of 30 Rock -- and your shows were in the magnificent Studio 6A (back when Howard Stern was broadcasting on NBC Radio, Connie Chung was anchoring Saturdays of NBC Nightly News and Al Roker was the weather guy for News 4 New York), there was a need to have a dressing room added next to your TV studio. After all, you were bringing in the awesome ratings, so you and Paul Shaffer were easily budgeted for separate new dressing rooms.

I could not wait to call someone to exclaim my biggest opportunity in my lifetime. I dialed long distance and reached my Dad in Florida: "Guess what? I'm going to build David Letterman's dressing room!"

Pregnant pause, more out of confusion... My Taiwanese engineer father spoke in his broken English, "Isn't that a bathroom?"

"Well, technically yes." I replied less enthusiastically and more sheepishly. "But it's DAVID LETTERMAN'S!" I gleefully proclaimed! No response. Past his bedtime but not in NYC; he has no clue what I'm talking about. ARGH! But's it for David Letterman! Is this but a dream?!

Suffice it to say, my engineering geekiness sure evolved to cook chick on Columbia's campus as the word spread (way before Facebook 'cause we didn't even have computers in our dorms overlooking Broadway, only typewriters!).

Thank you, Dave, for getting me excited about my first taste in engineering! We used to do calculations and coordinate stuff for your Stupid Human Tricks (to make sure your stunts wouldn't crash through the floor or flood the studio!). That summer of 1986 I even worked with two female Professional Engineers in our same department -- rare at a time very few women were engineers!

Since then, I have worked on the construction of 10 to 20-story buildings, become licensed as a Professional Engineer, and mentored numerous high school and college students. As my construction consulting firm turned 22 years old in March, I must take a bow to you, Dave, for not only making me laugh for 33 years, but also inspiring me to have fun in construction!

Your gold-covered toilet paper dispenser was the most luxurious bathroom accessory a 20-year-old college sophomore had ever seen in her life! My mother had died from cancer the summer before, but you got me to laugh again...

So, Dave, enjoy your Montana days in the summer, and consider becoming a snowbird in sunny Sarasota! Your 10-year-old son Harry would love building sandcastles on the crystal-white sands of Sarasota, like Siesta Key Beach -- #1 Beach in the US in 2011. (That's less than an hour drive south from your last weekend's hangout: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.) But if you do retire to Sarasota, can you handle Jerry Springer or Rosie O'Donnell as your neighbors?!

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Wish you were here, Dave!