Good afternoon, my fellow bibliophiles. I apologize for the slightly sad commentary as my return to the Bloggy Blog, but, yesterday marked one year since the first time I ever really gave a shit when a celebrity passed.
When I was 10 years old, a musician my father worshiped, Stevie Ray Vaughn, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash. I remember every teeny tiny detail of the afternoon I came home from school and he told me what had happened. Walking into the house that day was a sobering experience.
It was the first time I ever saw my father cry.
I wouldn’t understand until years later how someone could get so upset over the passing of someone they had never even met. Stevie’s music was a staple in my childhood, sure, and gave me an appreciation for the beauty one could bring forth with nothing more than a six-stringed instrument, but it’s not like the dude was an uncle or something.
A year ago yesterday, I finally got it.
To me, Robin Williams was an unstoppable force of nature. Even when he wasn’t wearing a smile on his lips, his eyes beamed. He radiated life and love and warmth and everything that’s good in the world. He had a realistic optimism, something I’ve tried to model my own behavior after. The first time I saw What Dreams May Come, my heart absolutely broke watching him, a man whose face should never carry a single frown, fall into utter despair. It was intense and crushing. I loved every painful minute of it.
Robin was the walking definition of comedy to me. He helped shape my sense of humor and my appreciation for the funny side of truth. Watching him on stage was an experience every person should have, and every actor should be required to watch all of his movies. Not just the funny ones, but all of the drama he did that showed he was more than just an endless stream of dick jokes. His had a special brand of wisdom that came from years of mistakes and triumphs. Rather than allowing bitterness to take over after he stumbled, he learned from those lessons, picked himself up, and moved forward with his life.
Since none of us knew the man personally, we can only speculate about what led to his choice to end his own life. I could easily understand his Parkinson’s diagnosis as being a major cause, but for all we know, it had nothing to do with it. On that train of thought, could you imagine being Robin Williams, a man known for his animated performances, not being able to move around like a cracked-out Bugs Bunny on stage??? I can’t…
The thought of Robin Williams no longer being in the world still makes me teary. If you haven’t seen it yet, please please please go out to Amazon and watch the PBS special ‘Robin Williams Remembered‘ (if you have Amazon Prime, it’s free – if you don’t, you can rent it for $1.99). It tells the story of his career from the start, both the incredible moments and the not-so-great ones. I know for a fact that I’m not alone in thinking he was an amazing human being, and the world is a slightly darker place without him in it.
I hope he found the peace he needed.
*climbs up on desk*
O Captain! My Captain!