“Dear Rick Moranis: I know you don’t need us, but if you come back to show business, I promise not to make any jokes about your dead wife.”
I type these words out in my little Tweetdeck thingy, like tens of thousands of tweets I have thoughtlessly and needlessly tweeted before. It’s a funny joke. Okay. I think it’s funny. A lot of things I tweet aren’t actually funny to anyone else, but without really thinking about it, I have a kind of litmus test that tweets tend to go through. I could probably make a flowchart. “Is it funny?” No. “Do I think it’s funny?” Yes. SEND. That sort of thing.
I think it’s funny. It’s made me “lol” in that way that we really don’t laugh out loud. I think other people will find it funny. I think still other people will find it offensive, which is often JUST as good a reason to tweet something as my first reason.
So I’m staring at the words, and I’m not hitting send. And I don’t know why I’m not hitting send. Okay. I KNOW. I mean it’s offensive. And it’s hitting a guy below the belt. A man I respect tremendously. I’m hitting him below the belt. Why would I do that? Why would I want to do that? There’s no reason to, other than, if I met Mr. Moranis in the flesh, there’d be a small part of me that would want to lightly slap him on a cheek and do my best Cher impersonation: “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
I decide to go get a coffee and come back. The words still glowing on the screen as I walk away from the computer, and I contemplate this moral dilemma in which I have just placed myself.
Microwaved water. A tablespoon of instant coffee. A tablespoon of dried milk for cream. A tablespoon of local honey which I was told would clear up my allergies but hasn’t done a damn bit of good. Stir. I walk back to the computer.
Oh yeah. I was supposed to decide what I’m going to do about this, but I was too busy making coffee.
I decide not to send it. I highlight the text with a control A and I’m about to hit the backspace key.
Now the words are glowing and the space around them is glowing. I read it again. I actually almost laugh out loud this time. I might have heard a gurgle from myself. Not a full honest laugh. Full disclosure here. Maybe objectively it’s not funny, but subjectively it’s very funny, in that way that someone else slipping on a banana peel is funny but me slipping and hurting myself is not.
But the problem is.. I HAVE. Haven’t I? I’m about to make fun of a man who lost his wife several years ago, when I lost my own mother several days ago. And I can’t compare his love for her with my love for my mother, and yet.. isn’t that what I’m doing here? Symbolically? I mean, why haven’t I thought of this joke BEFORE NOW? And why would I now classify this as a joke, when before this day, I don’t think this thought would have registered in my head as an amusing thought. …Has it? Have I ever thought this thought before? Surely I have. The first time I heard Rick Moranis quit show business cuz he was more interested in being a single father than in making us laugh.
And that’s another thing. Rick Moranis didn’t REALLY leave show business cuz his wife passed away. It was a gradual thing. I wasn’t a fly on the wall in his life but I can imagine after she died he threw himself into his work and kept himself busy. Not just with work but also with just life in general. That’s what I did when Dad died in 1998 and that’s what I’m doing now with my Mom. Yet at the same time, I’m finding myself doing something I don’t think a lot of other people do: I keep narcissistic-ally looking at myself trying not to think about it. Which of course on a meta-level is making me think about it even more. I doubt Mr. Moranis bothered with that. He just mourned in his own way, and returned to his life and work, and then a few years went by and he found that being with his children and being a father meant more to him than running around the world trying to keep an acting career afloat. It’s not all arts and crafts you know. Being an international superstar is work. Hard work. And involves politics and smiling at people you hate and shaking hands with complete strangers and signing autographs and I bet there were days when he signed something and looked up into the face of some schmuck like me and the only thing going on behind his eyes was, “I’d rather be home.”
So. One day he just did that. “Mr. Moranis we need you to fly out to such and such to do press for so and so movie deal” and he was like, “No. I’d rather be home.”
He’d rather be with the children he had with his wife; a prize he found he cherished far more than a billion statues of little naked men, or the billions of dollars they might represent, or the billions of dvds he’d sell doing yet another sequel of honey shrinking. To him he just realized there was no place like home. He clicked his heels three times, and that’s that.
So I’m staring at the screen. And these and a billion other thoughts are tumbling around in my head. And I don’t know what to do with them. Most of them fell out before I could catch them. I caught a few. I hope they suffice.
He lost his wife. I lost my mom. But when you lose someone, you don’t really lose them. We say that. I mean, they’re physically gone and that’s over that’s never happening again and that’s terrible. You’ll never hug her again. I’ll never look into those big blue eyes again. That doesn’t mean we stop living, but maybe it means re-evaluating how we’ve been living, cuz now we got to do it with one less variable, and what does that mean?
But the memory is still there. Is that enough? Probably not. Doesn’t change the fact it’s still there. Doesn’t change the fact it’s gonna have to be enough cuz that’s what we got. This is what we want. This is what we get. We love our womenz. So long as we remember, they live on in our hearts.
So I almost don’t send it, but then I get mad at myself. If Rick Moranis could come up with a joke about my dead mom that was honestly funny. Not funny in a way that disrespected how much my mom means to me, and in a way kind of underlines that importance, but it’s still funny. Would I want him to not show it to other people? I’d be honored. Even it it makes me look like a jerk. So long as it doesn’t make my mom look like a jerk. He can make me look like a jerk. That’s cool.
And besides, Rick Moranis is probably never gonna see this anyway. So why do I give a shit what he thinks?