THINKING ABOUT HAROLD
yesterday i was angry, i mean it’s obvious why mr. ramis’ death would hurt more than any of the other recent celebrity deaths that have occurred this year. i’ve been working on a ghostbuster album for two years, i wrote a song about his most famous character, i knew everything about him, i was happily lounging in the comforts of my past. but yesterday i was trying to think of what made this hurt so much.
everyone cited the great movies he made in the 80’s, the movies that taught me pretty much everything i know about comedy, and i realized what it was, what it was that made him so dear to me. it was that switch from brother to father. it was how he was always family and never a stranger.
growing up, the snl actors were my best friends, i got to see their movies before i should have and knowing they were contraband made the experiences are the more indelible. these guys weren’t authority figures they were goofs, smart asses, disrespectful gadflies. i had older brothers, but they were constantly quoting these guys, and it all became synonymous with each other. my brothers were them and they were my brothers.
it was weird to think, concerning ramis specifically, that this guy wrote this? this guy directed vacation? but he’s not in it! it made my head swim. that someone could be funny AND powerful. funny AND smart. because of that he was more than a brother. he had the strong hand of a father. and i don’t mean playing fatherly roles, like he did in the 90’s, but running the show, taking charge. he appeared to be going against the authorities in the 80’s when he was the authority all along. although from what i read he never acted that way.
when groundhog day came out it was a new kind of authority he was rebelling against; the worst of ourselves. our willingness to become our worst nightmares, our mindless zombie march towards boredom and monotony. he reminded us to live our lives to the fullest, lest we be trapped in a cycle of repetition and agony. and though he made other films afterward, i felt like that was his last great lesson.
he took me to so many places. opened my mind and made me laugh. he made me love my brothers more, love my life more, and in the end love my father more.
i’ll be trying to sell my record as this month and the next month continue, i have no choice, but it won’t be easy, because now everything is reminding me of him. and these days every death feels more hurtful because of my own father’s passing. i’m definitely more sensitive and more in tune with our limited amount of time here. everyone has to go some time, and now is the time, as many of my friends said yesterday, to say goodbye to our heroes.
can we be those heroes for others? can we take their place and do for the kids coming up, what our heroes did for us? i don’t know. we definitely were taught well. that i know for sure.
i’ll be posting scenes from his movies this week. mr. ramis you are not just missed, you are cherished.