Philip Baker Hall died on Sunday at the age of 90. An actor for decades with small roles on Broadway, in movies and on television, Mr. Hall is probably best known for his role as the acerbic New York City Library cop, Joe Bookman, from an episode of the sitcom, Seinfeld. Jerry’s crime was that he checked out Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer in 1971 and never returned it. As Bookman put it “Yeah, ’71. That was my first year on the job. Bad year for libraries. Bad year for America. Hippies burning library cards, Abbie Hoffman telling everyone to steal books.” When Jerry can’t believe the seriousness with which Bookman approaches his job, Bookman says “Well, I got a flash for ya, joy boy. Party time is over.” The line was classic, iconic comedy which made Seinfeld special to the show’s fans.
Although I was sad to hear that Mr. Hall had died, remembering his performance in that Seinfeld episode made me smile and laugh. And it felt good. Given all that is going on in the world these days, I think sometimes that we have to remember to laugh a little. It not only feels good, but studies show that it is good for your health. A Mayo Clinic article titled “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke” points out that in the short term, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Longer term, it helps to improve your immune system, improves your mood, and makes it easier to cope with difficult situations. Remember the old adage, laughter is the best medicine. There may be some truth to it.
I hope we can all find some time to laugh a little this weekend and regularly.
Take care and stay safe.
The Old Man (FX and Hulu)
Dan Chase absconded from the CIA and lives off the grid. When an assassin arrives and tries to take Chase out, the old operative learns that to ensure his future he now must reconcile his past. The FBI's Harold Harper is called on to hunt him down because of his complicated past with the rogue fugitive. When Chase proves to be more difficult to apprehend than the authorities expected, a highly trained special ops contractor is sent to pursue him as well. While on the run, Chase rents a room from Zoe McDonald, who draws on reserves she never knew she had to survive the day when she learns the truth about her new tenant.