Monday, August 11, 2014

After the laughter

...the wave of dread - it hits us like a ton of lead:

   As we were closing up shop today, the word broke that Robin Williams was gone.   With all the things going on in the world today, I guess I couldn't say I was totally shocked - it's long been known that Williams battled demons and depression - and, let's face it, we've kind of become numb to many of life's senseless events.  But it certainly cast a melancholic pall over my thoughts.

   People of my age - who grew up shooting pterodactyls after school, before skeet was invented - probably became aware of Williams in his role as the alien Mork.  Of course then it was funny to have aliens in our homes.  And from there we watched him evolve into a comedy superstar and gifted actor.  I used to love to watch him on Carson - while at the same time feeling sorry for Johnny,  He wasn't a loose cannon, but more like a gimbal-mounted auto-cranked Gatling Gun running unattended.  In the days before DVRs, you had to hope for re-run segments of Williams' interviews, because you'd probably missed 2/3 of the gags.

   That Williams was a genius is undisputed.  His stream-of-consciousness delivery, impersonations, and range were like having Steve Allen, Carl Reiner, Sid Caesar, and Mel Brooks - maybe even with a little Rickles thrown in - in one person.  With the possible exception of Jonathan Winters, his zany, quirky humor was unrivalled.

   After leaving the office, my sadness ebbed and flowed with some of the tributes being given on the radio. As I got near home, I did nearly lose composure when my Daughter texted "Robin Williams died.  :("  We'd recently watched Patch Adams together.

  "I heard - it makes me very sad" was my response.


el chupacabra said...

We watched Jumanji just last weekend.

: (

mzchief said...

I wept after reflecting on how truly desperate Robin Williams must have felt. If anything good can come from such a heartbreaking event, I think Robin Williams has done a lot to prove to the world, suicide isn't a "cowardly/selfish act." It is, most likely, the desperate action of someone who is lost and tormented by irrational internal forces few can comprehend.

Robin Williams spent his entire adult life, giving to the world. He had achieved and retained the greatest respect of anyone in his career. Robin Williams had 3 adoring children whom he equally adored. Robin Williams was tireless in all that he gave to US troops, friends and even random strangers. For 30+ years, Robin Williams valiantly and successfully fought substance abuse. Nothing in Robin Williams' life reflects the actions of a coward or selfish human. Thus, it would be irrational for anyone to declare his suicide was anything but the result of someone in an irrational state of mind.

If suicide was the action of hopeless, cowards and selfish people, prisons would be empty.

Robin Williams has indeed, even in his final act, given something to the rest of the world, a better understand of the monster that is depression.

The Donald said...

Mz - Well said. I was dismayed/disgusted at how many anons over on the circus blog referred to Robin's action as "cowardly".

Would that those critics could give a fraction of the time/joy/dedication/funds that Robin gave to audiences/USO/St. Jude/fellow artists.

I agree that hopefully some good can come of this, that people will realize that depression affects people irrespective of socio/economic/success status. Mike Wallace years ago opened the door, maybe more will pay attention now.