You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
Since the news of Robin Williams’ death, I’ve had time to think, about life, death, and everything in between. I’ve found Robin’s death is the first celebrity death that has actually affected me in more than a superficial way. That’s not to say I don’t or haven’t cared about all the other celebrities that have passed on before, but my connection with Robin Williams was much more than just admiration, apparently.
In the past, when I’ve heard someone has taken their own live, I, like many others, have said to myself “What did they have to be sad about.” Now I realize how entirely wrong I have been for thinking/saying that. Would I say that about someone who died of cancer? No. The reason, it’s a disease. I truly believe that now, though I’ve said I did for a while, I think I truly believe it now. I’m only sorry it took so long to finally get it.
I’ve never written something like this, and possibly never will again, but I’ve realized just how much I cherished Robin Williams’ work, and my emotion over his death and seeing how so many are grieving, I felt compelled to write something. His body of work was one of such notoriety in my opinion. The last day or two I’ve contemplated the affects of his talent on me and here are some of my favorite pieces of Robin’s work and what they’ve meant to me personally.
- Every Interview Robin has ever done – That’s right, I loved seeing Robin being interviewed. He was the most entertaining human I can think of. It seemed he never really got interviewed, it was simply another opportunity for him to get something out of his head and I loved that about him. I’m not a big talk show guy, but if I saw Robin was a scheduled guest, I tuned in. I loved that Robin didn’t give people a chance to stop him, to quiet him, to make him conform to what is expected socially. He was in your face, he was agressive, but he was respectful and respectable. Hearing stories about him off camera tells a story of someone who loved people and wanted them to be happy, even when he wasn’t.
- Stand Up – I’ve probably watched more of Robin’s stand up on YouTube than anything else. It’s like watching a tornado rip through content so fast you can’t keep up, though you’re never lost and you get every single joke. Who else can do something like that than Robin Williams, and I doubt anyone will ever again.
- Good Will Hunting (1997) – This movie was so powerful to me. I grew up in a small town, on a small farm with a small handful of friends. I’ve never been diagnosed depressed, nor do I believe I have been depressed, but I have been an outsider and I’ve had one time in my life that I seriously thought about suicide. I, luckily, had a strong support system in family and friends during that time, or I might not be writing this now. This movie helped me understand myself in ways I never imagined I could. It gave me confidence. It gave me hope. And it made me cry. I will always love this movie.
- Patch Adams (1998) – How can anyone not appreciate this movie? Robin as Patch Adams truly showcased his comedic and dramatic skill set. This movie has a special place in my life, as it was the movie I lost my virginity to (do you really lose it, or do you give it away?). I know, not the movie you’d expect for that, but that is my reality and I’ll never forget it, though she may want to, we’ll never know, or want to. 😉
- Hook (1991) – Who doesn’t love this movie? This was one of my first experiences with Robin Williams in a movie and I loved it instantly. There isn’t much more that needs to be said.
- Good Morning Vietnam (1987) – This was one of the first movies I ever owned on VHS.I watched this movie over and over. As a high schooler I was amazed that someone could just go and go and go. I never really thought about it until later in life just how talented Robin was with comedy and acting in general. This was the first time I actually thought about war beyond just the overly macho idea I used to have about it. It also gave me an understanding of the importance of critically thinking about your support of something such as war.
There are so many other movies that I’ve loved, but these are my absolute favorites. I’m not an eloquent writer, and thus, nothing I write can honor Robin well enough, but I know there are plenty out there that have done so. The most moving for me has been Norm Macdonald’s tribute/memorial. I was putting my kids to bed last night and while they were brushing their teeth I read his tribute and I literally choked up as I told my kids to finish up. They must have thought I was crazy for crying about brushing their teeth.
I did not know Robin Williams, I wish I did. I’ve never been in his presence, though I wish I had. We will never again have a person like Robin again, though I don’t know that we could handle it if we did. Robin, you will be missed, but not forgotten. You changed so many lives and you continue to do so in your absence. That is the mark of a truly remarkable person. Flaws and all. Thank you for your life.