Now that’s funny. I found myself saying that time and time again after watching a movie by the late Harold Ramis. Ghostbusters? Of course. Caddyshack? Even better. Stripes? Well, that’s the fact Jack. Groundhog Day? I could watch it over and over again.
Harold Ramis — writer, director, actor — was capital F funny, and I’m sorry to hear of his passing. His movies were even funnier when you watched them with other people. Like any good disease worth its salt, his movie were contagiously hilarious. I don’t mean at the theater with strangers. I mean on New Year’s Eve when the kids were small and you rented a cabin at an Indiana State Park and you were there with other families like Chris and Lisa Fultz and Jim and Nina Eads and you ate copious amounts of nachos and bean dip and slugged down a few golden soda pops after the kids went to bed and you put Stripes in the VCR (yes, video) and you watched the movie and laughed and ate more nachos than what anyone should consume in a year let alone a single night.
I have no idea what kind of guy Harold Ramis was but what I do know is this — If they gave a Nobel Prize for humor, this guy would have been a recipient! Yet even better than a Nobel Prize, Harold Ramis made people laugh. World peace is great, and God knows we could use a little more of it, but making people laugh is one of the most spiritual things we can ever do. Did I say spiritual? Yes. Spiritual.
Laughter heals the soul. It makes the world a better place, and if not better, at least more tolerable. Jesus isn’t known much for his humor, but in fact he seemed to find a way with wit, irony and a good bit of absurdity to make his many important religious points and entertain his audience at the same time. (Is it really easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to make it into heaven?) Jesus, that’s funny.
Let’s face it, church services can be a bit tedious and serious, but when punctuated with a laughter and levity and a few sincere smiles, well, everyone takes a deep breath and feels alive again.
This is why I’m thinking of Harold Ramis today. I’m sorry he’s gone and my prayers go out to his family. But he made us laugh, and you can’t laugh without taking a breath, and as some people remind us from time to time, taking a breath is everything.