I Still Miss You, John Candy . . .

It should not surprise many of you, given my OCD and general anxiety disorder(s) (there HAS to be more than one running around in my brain at any given moment) to know that I'm not one to "skip" anything. I honor just about any commitment I've ever made (there is a post somewhere in the archives on "quitting" for those obsessed with my brain (don't be embarrassed, boo)).

As an extension of that, I am proud to tell you that I only ever "skipped" (not including days when I was visiting colleges, having surgery, truly ill, etc.) school ONCE from K-12. It was 19 years ago tomorrow. I was a senior in high school and my hero, John Candy, had died of a heart attack in his sleep while filming the HORRIBLE Wagons East (overall - I actually think Candy did some fine work in the film).

It took me nearly 24 hours to find out (this was pre Twitter and Facebook, people when your "only" source of "entertainment news" was Entertainment Tonight (which was frequently on in the ol' Amore household)) and I was distraught. My parents agreed to let me stay home in grief (it was a Friday so I think they presumed I could be back in one piece by Monday). And grieve I did.

I walked to the video store in town, rented his every film and just dove in. I love the guy. For real. My favorite of his films is actually "Only the Lonely" (a more serious turn for him) but Uncle Buck is a close second (and one many more people have probably seen). Great, short sample of his genius:

There are some natural reasons why I loved John Candy. We both had "larger" statures (he was about 4" taller than I am but we both struggle with our weight. We both have shockingly good looks (just allow me some liberty here). We both enjoyed nothing more than providing other people joy. We both shy away from interviews and press requests. We both have serious sides very few see/saw. Neither of us like to ask for help. Both of us chose "wry" to describe our senses of humor.

Some random facts you probably did not know:

  • John Candy was a partial owner (with Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi) in the House of Blues chain at one point. You're welcome for the mediocre cheeseburger, America.
  • He was a partial owner in a professional football team and frequently hung out on the sidelines entertaining his players.
  • He was happily married (his wife died a year after he did) and had two children (Jennifer and Christopher)
  • He believed that the secret to success is simple: patience and presence.
  • His presence/being spotted at a Super Bowl calmed and delighted the trailing Joe Montana enough that he could go on to win the game.
I don't have a ton of "heroes" - my ego and blatant narcissism don't allow for much awe in this life but the Clintons, the Cuomos, and whoever Connie Britton is dating these days all seem to be icons I can learn something from. My parents are surely models for me in many ways. My daughter is a bit of a hero (she had a rough start in this life and she's exceeded lots of expectations . . . she's a fighter). I have a few former colleagues I greatly admire, etc. No one has ever become my "John Candy" though.

I've never found someone that I can admire exactly the way I admired him. But I keep looking. And hoping. And re-watching his old movies. And laughing.

I miss you, John Candy. Thanks everything.