Laughter: A Real Superpower

Harold Ramis, Ghostbuster Creator, laugh maker

A man who brought laughter.

Laughter is the most wonderful sound.

Everyone is beautiful when they laugh.

The first person I heard laugh was my mother. When I was a child, I often woke up early on Sunday mornings. I would hang out with my mother who was already busy in the kitchen. I treasured those times together.

Back in my single days, someone asked me what I wanted in a woman. My response: someone who I can laugh with.

Yes, I believe in the power of laughter.

Therefore, anyone who can make people laugh possesses a wonderful power. A superpower.

This past week Harold Ramis died at the age of 69. In my book Ramis was a superpower.  The list of comedies he wrote includes: Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, Back to School, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This.

Yet, the movie I will always remember him for is Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters blew my away! It was Ramis at the top of his power.

Ghostbusters loomed over years of my childhood.

I still remember the movie vividly. From the opening scene when Bill Murray’s Dr. Venkman is shocking a man and flirting with a woman as part of a scientific experiment till Venkman and crew take down the Giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

I repeated some of the lines for years to come:

The superintendent’s gonna be pissed!
What a lovely singing voice you must have.
Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES”!
Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.

The decal on my Ghostbusters tee shirt wore off from going through so many wash cycles.

Shoot, I even loved the Ray Parker Jr. song – Who you gonna call?

I mashed my faced against a window ala Rick Moranis’ character, Louis. Remember that scene? He is trying to escape from the terror dog and runs through Central Park. Louis ends up in front of a fancy restaurant.   He tries to enter the restaurant but can’t so he ends up pounding on the window. For a split second, everyone freezes as they turn to look at Louis screaming unintelligibly. They ignore him and instead turn back toward their food as if nothing has happened while Louis is pounced on by the terror dog.

This scene struck me as hilarious. I laughed louder and longer than anyone else at the theatre.

My wife and I laugh together. We disagree plenty and piss each other off. But we still laugh. I love to hear her laugh. We’ll be fine.

Then, there are my boys. I live for their cackle.

SJ is a tougher nut to crack. He is more likely to say, “you’re funny,” than laugh. Except when I tickle him. Then, you should hear him. Just writing that makes me happy.

BR’s sense of humor is developing. While he still loves farts, burps and bodily noises in general (hey, he is 9), I can tell him a joke and get him going. The other day he and I were hanging out, and I had him belly laughing. What a wonderful sight.

Yes, laughter is beautiful. Being able to make others laugh is a beautiful gift.

Thank you for sharing your gift and making me laugh Harold Ramis. Rest in peace.

Picture is courtesy of Flickr

12 Years Together: What Causes A Bond?

Wife and husband hiking together.

My wife (who is also the photographer in this case) and I together on a hiking trail.

It was March of 2002. My wife and I were newlyweds.

We stood on a subway platform waiting for 1 train. We were in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and were headed back to our apartment in Manhattan.  We were returning from a visit to friends of my wife.

Anyway, as we shivered on that winter night, I looked at my wife. It was a quiet moment. Both of us were thinking our own thoughts.

Though we had been married for a couple of months, I did not feel bonded to my wife.

When I would feel that our lives would be seamlessly intertwined?

You see I had this perception which I was in the midst of learning was false.

I thought you get married and then you are together.  You know: stomp on the glass, dance the hora, feed each other some cake, go home, and you are Coupled. Two become one, united, attached.

However, I did not feel coupled in the strongest sense of the word.

Yes, I was happy to go back to our apartment and share our bed. I was happy to hold hands and feel her fingers tingle. I was happy to stand close and smell her perfumed body.

I felt love.

Yet, I could easily have caught another train. I could have let go of her hand. We could have gone our separate ways.

I wondered at that moment on the platform. When does a couple feel like one? Would something dramatic have to happen? Would something feel different? Would there be a perceptible moment – a crossing of the tracks?

As I have said before, every couple creates their own love story. And therefore each story is unique.  So, my answer may not be your answer.

Today my wife and I celebrate our 12th anniversary (12 Years A Slave- ha, ha. I heard it was a good movie – want to see it).

Our wedding day doesn’t feel just like yesterday. The 12 years hasn’t passed in a blink of an eye. So, much has happened – both good and not so good. I’m sure every couple out there can come up with their own list.

In other words, we have lived a life together. Sometimes happy and sometimes sad, sometimes laughing and sometimes cursing, sometimes calm and sometimes screaming, sometimes excited and sometimes scared.  Mostly content and occasionally frustrated.

This is a life together. This is bonding, I believe. Somewhere through the years and the shared experiences we have bonded.

That doesn’t mean we have submerged our two individual selves in order to create a unified one.  We have separate likes and dislikes. We are not always on the same page. My wife and I think differently.

Today we celebrate our anniversary and our love story. We’ll look back and appreciate. We’ll look forward and hope. Mostly, we’ll deal with today. Together.

Happy Anniversary to my wife – nice being bonded to you.

Ain’t Feeling Love For the Monthly Bus Pass

You’ll have to answer
To your own

Billy Joel – Pressure

We all feel pressure in some form or another.

Maybe, it’s paying the bills, getting or keeping a job, satisfying your love ones, or satisfying yourself.

Pressure can manifest itself in many ways. It could be loss of appetite, headaches, disturbed sleep, etc.

Generally, I deal with pressure rather well. My wife, however, may disagree with that assessment.

Anyway, something recently has come along in my life that has caused me to feel pressure. The kids are fine, my job is secure, and my wife and I are in good health.  So, the issue is not particularly serious and the pressure should not exist.

Let me give you some background.

I’m a loser. No, I don’t mean this in a self-deprecation sort of way. Well, not completely.

It’s just that I have a history of losing things.

This history goes back to childhood.  I had clips on my jacket which attached to my gloves. You remember those? I still went through six pair of gloves one winter. My mother has reminded me of that particular winter a number of times.

Unfortunately, this habit of losing stuff continued as I got older.

Check out this partial list of all items I have lost:

Three passports. (It’s a miracle I am not on some terrorist watch list.)

Two driver’s license

Lunch Bags

Water Bottles

Library Books


And my children. But luckily I keep finding them. Or they me.

Clearly, it’s a long and ugly history.

And I am scarred.

Yet, there is hope.

I actually retired my last lunch bag – after two years.

I had a pair of glasses for three years – and then they broke.

This is the first Chanukah since my wife, Ms. MMK and I got together (12 year anniversary on Monday) that she did not buy me a hat or gloves as a present.

Maybe, I am a loser no more.

A burden has been lifted.

I’m swelling with pride.

I keep things. I retain.

While getting used to this newly earned title, my wife, Ms. MMK made a decision. It’s actually very practical, and I love practical.

Her decision was to buy a monthly bus pass for us to share. On those days she works in the city, she uses the monthly bus pass, and I use it the other days. Gold for 50th anniversary, silver for 25th anniversary, and a shared monthly bus pass for a 12th anniversary.

I do love her, but she has no idea of the pressure this has put on me.

You see I thought of buying a monthly bus pass for myself during those months when it would make sense monetarily.

But I held back.


Because the monthly bus pass is pricey. So, if it is lost that’s nearly 150 dollars down the drain in one fell swoop.  And I would be angry and feel like crap if I lost the monthly bus pass.

Each time I ready to get on the bus these days, there is a moment when I can’t find monthly bus pass. I rifle through my brief case.  I fight to remain calm.

It’s pressure man!  Pressure, pressure, pressure.

So far, so good.

I need to relax and let

No More Stuff! George Carlin Understands

Mail SLot for Holidng Stuff

Mail Slot to Hold Stuff

I remember a book that I read in in kindergarten. Or first grade. But that’s not important.

The book was entitled The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes and it’s by Phyllis Krasilovsky.

Full disclosure. I didn’t remember the title or author but found it on Amazon (Book Link). However, I do remember the basic plot.

The book begins with a man who has just finished eating. He puts the dishes in the sink. Rather than washing the dishes, he decides to do it later. Lo and behold, the next mealtime arrives, and he again puts his dishes in the sink. Once again, he delays doing the dishes.

This process of avoiding the dishes goes on for a few days. Ultimately, the man has no dishes left. He starts to use other items in his house as dishes. The dirty dishes pile up everywhere until his house gets overrun with dishes.

While I may have some of the details off (I forgot the ending till I saw the link on Amazon) this story had an impact me on me.

Some probably took away the helpful lesson of doing a task promptly rather than letting it grow and become overwhelming.  They are the types who do the dishes the second the meal is over.

That’s not me. However, I much prefer an empty sink.

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