Tommy, as his brother Ray called him, laughed hardest of all. Often I’d find myself laughing out loud, something I rarely do, not because the jokes were that funny, but because Tommy’s laugh was just plain infectious. He’d laugh so hard, he’d be gasping for air, and I’d find myself wiping tears from my eyes. It was cathartic.
When the guys retired the show recently, many of us knew it wasn’t so they could relax on a beach in Florida. Tom’s speech had become a tad slurred in later episodes, he’d ramble a tiny bit more than usual, and there was the sense that Ray was answering more of the difficult automotive questions. Still, today’s news is a sucker punch for sure.
Through all the cornball jokes and hokey schtick, Tom and Ray Magliozzi offered a respite from the wearying, prurient, sadistic noise that masks itself as news and entertainment today.
And so when I hear people saying that we’ve lost a national treasure, I’m inclined to agree. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting older, but these kinds of good people seem to be fewer and farther between. And I wonder, when did we collectively decide that going through life jaded and outraged was better than being open and joyful?