“He is SO funny!”
-Me, age eight, starry-eyed over John Ritter
And you were. You were the first guy who made my pulse race a little. The first one who could make me shriek with giggles. I’m just not sure how you could be gone.
I don’t often wax rhapsodic over celebrities…but I just loved you, I really did. I loved you before all the tributes and all the clips began running on CNN. Just a week or so before you died, I sat on the edge of my tub, laughing with Darl about that infamous testicle episode and I remember wiping away a mirthful tear saying, “I just love John Ritter. He was my first tv crush.” I’ve even watched Stephen King’s It many times – thus is my affection for you.
And then you died. You died. It’s a wrong sort of thing that you should just die at 54, so swiftly.
I never saw Eight Simple Rules…, that new show of yours on ABC. I guess I felt it was aimed toward the opposite of the Three’s Company crowd – kids, and their parents. But, knowing it was on made me happy, in a way I couldn’t explain before your death. When I think about it now, I guess I was just glad knowing you were on television regularly – that kids were enjoying your goofiness like I had.
Death is a funny thing. I don’t understand its vagaries; in the dark of the night, I’m very frightened of it. But I know it is natural, and that we all have a ticket for that train ride. I just wish we’d all notice one another a little more before we go aboard.
But, Mr. Ritter, I like to imagine that you had an inkling or two about how much you were loved on this earth. I think you did. Your smile was so big – I think it radiated a feeling of being loved and of wanting others to feel it too. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m so happy I got to see it.