Laughing Thru Tears the Genius of Robin Williams
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgI4-JHZ6t4 There isn't a better analogy to describe Robin Williams than "tears of a clown". In the hours since his death on 8/11/14 by apparent suicide the general consensus is the same - Robin Williams was always funny, always on stage, he didn't seem to have an off switch. No one can be funny all the time. Someone who is maybe masking demons we could never imagine.
Looking back on Robin's career in the aftermath of his death it's easy to see the signs. Williams often portrayed characters who were slightly out of step, lonely, felt disconnected form the world, marched to the beat 0f a different drummer, and yes even characters who dealt with depression. Williams struggle with depression and at times addiction have been well documented over the years. Maybe we weren't paying attention but it seemed to the outside world that he had finally conquered his demons. Again tears of clown. When we least expected it, when we weren't on guard he succumbed to a sadness he had walked with probably his entire life. My heart breaks for his family. How devastating it must be to know that someone you love is in so much pain that they feel death is the only option. Robin Williams spent his entire life making sure the rest of us were ok, making sure the rest of us were laughing I wish he had been able to find a way to make Robin okay.
Of course I never met Robin Williams, but in my mind he was that crazy family friend you hope shows up at the cookout. The uncle you run to when no one else in your family understands. He's always been in the background of my life. A wave of sadness engulfed me when I saw his death trending on Twitter. There are just some people that my mind can not conceive of dying. At every awkward stage of my life there was Robin Williams and he always made me feel like it was okay because someone else had walked the same path. Yes, they were fictional characters, but the had soul and they had been were I was and survived. It made me feel like I could make it up the rough side of the mountain.
Robin's big break came in the 70's via a drug induced stupor and some red pajamas. Robin wondered out on the Happy Days set in some red pajamas in the middle of filming. To hide his embarrassment he pretended to be a lost man from outer space. Happy Days had fallen into a predictable lull and needed a new character to liven it up. Enter Mork from Ork.
Turning a drug induced stupor into a job is comedic genius. There was something magical about Robin Williams. Mork taught me that I didn't have to fit in. I could be as strange and eccentric as I wanted. If an alien from outer space could fit in so could I. From Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Aladdin, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, and so many More Robin got it right. he touched us, he made us laugh, because at the end of it all we are all just a bunch of screwed up aliens trying to get it right. Just trying to find our place. What Dreams May Come and Patch Adams may be the most prolific movies Williams starred in because of their subject matter, but for me the nonsensical Jumanji and Mork from Ork were his very best. What kid hasn't felt like no one in the world around them gets it? Who hasn't felt like they've been forgotten because of some time warp that only something as evil as Jumanji can explain?
My sincere hope is that there is indeed life after death, maybe then Robin will find the joy, and peace he searched so desperately for in life. When the world ceases to laugh its heart stops beating. The hearts of the world collectively skipped a beat yesterday. R.I.P. Robin Williams.
If you or someone you know are experiencing depression, or thoughts of suicide there is help. Please reach out to someone you don't have to fight the battle alone.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273 - Talk (8255)