Chevy Chase’s magical run through the 1980’s was an integral piece in the way that my love of comedy films developed. But it wasn’t just laughs that Chevy gave us. He also imparted wisdom. If you were paying attention, you learned some lessons. Such as:
1. Don’t waste opportunities
If you’re four short hours away from the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth while on a cross-country family vacation, take advantage of it. Carpe diem, I say. Seize that twiney bull by the horns and never let go.
2. Be the ball
To quote Ty Webb from Caddyshack, “There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball”. Every day that I get stressed, I remind myself to get in touch with Ty Webb’s corny golf-themed eastern philosophy. Because that’s what “be the ball” is really about. It’s right in line with Taoism and Buddhism and the like. Ty didn’t create the philosophy. He just put it into terms we could all understand. Don’t stress. Let things happen. Be the ball. Na-na-na-na-na-na…
3. Learn what words really mean or else you’ll wind up fighting the El Guapos of the world
As Dusty Bottoms in ¡Three Amigos!, Chevy and his dos other amigos wound up taking on a rather formidable bully named El Guapo. They could have avoided the whole situation had they only known what “infamous” meant.
4. Have fun at all costs, even if people die and an asshole moose gets in your way
So your wife’s aunt dies on your family’s biggest trip in years. And so what if a talking moose won’t let you in on his little party? Who cares? You should insist on having so much fucking fun you’ll need plastic surgeory to remove your godamn smile. You’ll be whistling Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah out of your asshole.
5. Be adaptable
Sometimes, you have to work longer hours. Other times, you may need to offer a helping hand to friends and family when you’d rather be watching Fletch. And still other times, you have to pose as a surgeon, airline mechanic, or Los Angeles Lakers star with seven inches of afro. Adaptability is key.
6. You can’t re-live the glory days
Holy shit, did you see Caddyshack 2?
7. Sometimes, it’s acceptable to be a pig
There are times in life that simply call for you to be a glutton. Reach out with both hands and grab everything that you want, no matter how ridiculous you may look. And it’s possible that you’ll look very, very, very ridiculous.
8. Even if you’ve got a meaningless mission, follow through with it. You never know where it might take you.
Emmett Fitz-Hume was given a completely bogus mission in Spies Like Us. By following through, he got to visit multiple countries, impersonate an alien, and mate with the best looking woman in the movie. Atta boy, Chevy.
9. Pay extra special attention to what words mean when it involves something going into your mouth
As if not knowing what “infamous” means wasn’t bad enough, even worse is not knowing what words mean when they define something you’re about to put in your mouth. Andy Farmer scarfed down 30 “lamb fries”- a new record- in Funny Farm with nary a clue that they’re actually lamb testicles. I’ll be damned if I’m going to eat something without knowing what it is.