Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mr. Magoo and the Manhole

Watch out, for the love of God,
watch out, Mr. Magoo!!
Lately, I’ve been worried that I’m losing my sense of humor.

Having once been able to find the funny in just about anything, the constant stream of disasters has left me numb.

Full disclosure before we go any further: I was the kid who fretted horribly that Mr. Magoo would fall down a manhole, agonized over Herman Munster’s obliviousness to his social impediments and worried the castaways on Gilligan’s Island would never be rescued. However, I could also laugh at the hapless Nazis of Hogan’s Heroes and chuckled happily when Curly and Moe engaged in their sado-masochistic hijinks.

As a result of this schizophrenic approach to both TV and life, I developed into a hybrid--filling my emotional tank with the high octane of both joy and sorrow.

Recent events have altered me. Anxious about terrorism, travel, politics and social unrest (to name but a few), I am less inclined to mine the depths of life’s pathos in search of mirth.

You can say that again, Sebastian.
I found myself in a low place the other day. The news was very bad---again. But the television gods were with me as, clicking away from CNN, I stumbled upon a movie so reliably sweet that only the most lost among us could not be coaxed into the light by its good nature.

“You’ve Got Mail,” starring Tom Hanks, the Jimmy Stewart of my generation and Meg Ryan in pre-cosmetic surgical radiance, was put there just for me…and a million others who needed a boost.

This perfect example of the “rom-com” formula: conflict that, over the course of  snappy dialogue and bewitching scenes of New York City at its best, blooms into true love, was just what the doctor ordered.

Settling back, I pushed the darkness aside with the intention of losing myself in this classic scenario but, almost immediately, started to worry that -- these days -- a bomb might go off while Tom Hanks enjoyed a busy street fair. Later, during scenes in a bustling store, I remembered how uncomfortable I now feel in crowds. Would Meg and Tom drop to the floor if disaster struck or hide behind that display of high-end cookware? Did they even know where the closest exit was?

I then realized just how deeply mired I’ve become in anxiety.

I know many of you feel it, too so I began to stew over the encroaching national, if not global, sense of angst and its destructive effects until, abruptly, I’d had enough of all the darn gloom.  

So, with a broad stroke, I pushed the goblins from my shoulder straight to the ground. Focusing on the movie with new eyes, I noticed that,in high def, Meg’s skin was not as flawless as originally observed. Immediately, I felt better. Next, a line of dialogue mentioning the need to move to Brooklyn because the rents were cheaper made me laugh out loud---albeit bitterly, but it was a start.
Huzzah--no where to be found!!!

Soon, I enjoyed the catharsis of a good cry thanks to a poignant moment and we all know how closely related tears are to laughter, yes?

Ultimately, I relied on my go-to standard for feeling happy: Is Adrian Brody anywhere in this movie? If the answer is no, you have reason to celebrate. He is not, I repeat not, to be found anywhere in “You’ve Got Mail.”
Do you really think Hanks is
the new me? I'm skeptical.

Soon, I was feeling better. I suddenly noticed how well my most recent pedicure has held up. The flowers on the deck were looking great. We’d recently had a lovely time with friends. I’d soon be visiting the kids…it had just rained and the air smelled fresh…the sun was shining  and -- come on, you know where this is heading – I am still here to see it all.

Don’t worry, I promise not to ask you to start a gratitude journal but I would like to leave you, dear readers, with a sense of hope that we all can share. Good things happen, too. More people are good than bad and, most of the time, Mr. Magoo manages to steer clear of the manhole.

Though we will all continue to be tested in a variety of ways, the sun will come out…if not tomorrow, the day after. Rent “You’ve Got Mail” from Netflix…I hate spoilers but, not for nothing, it has a happy ending.

Why, Meg? WHY????


  1. for me it was the hope that Wimpy would make good on his burger debt on Tuesday coming

  2. I totally understand. Thanks for reading!