We’ll Miss You Captain, My Captain
“A woman would never make a nuclear bomb. They would never make a weapon that kills. They’d make a weapon that makes you feel bad for a while.”
– Robin Williams
The death of Robin Williams has really cut close to the bone for so many of us.
Is it because we’ve watched in awe as he’s demonstrated his in-the-moment, out of body, brand of free form humor since Mork and Mindy?
Is it because another beautiful human being has lost their fight with depression and addiction?
I used to love watching the people around him, from Johnny Carson and Barbara Walters to Charlie Rose, try to keep it together as he drifted seamlessly, and hilariously from discussing one of his movies, into a dolphin, a monkey or a dude on quaaludes.
“We had gay burglars the other night, they broke in and rearranged the furniture.”
~ Robin Williams
I had the privilege of seeing him at a small club on the Sunset Strip in the late 1970’s, just before his big TV break. We heard there was this guy who was nuts, and was about to become a huge star, Hollywood was all abuzz.
His standup act was a rapid fire, stream of consciousness barrage of curse words, accents, impressions and crazy voices, all improvised, as he ran back and forth across the stage for almost two hours, soaked with sweat and high as a kite. The act was filthy, filthy, filthy dirty, but not mean. It never was. I always liked that.
“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so … look at the platypus.”
The audience was filled with uptight industry execs and young people from the music, TV and movie worlds. We had NEVER seen ANYTHING like him.
The laugher was so loud and ceaseless, that I missed a ton of what he was saying. I thought people were going to have strokes; their faces beet red, all bent forward, barely able to breath – from laughter. I’ve never before or since witnessed anything remotely close to that night. He was Divinely inspired, with his high wire comedy act.
It felt courageously dangerous.
It’s a toss up which serious movie of his was my favorite. He was such a gifted actor, even more so because we all knew that wild side he was keeping behind some big thick, metal bars deep inside, delivering someone else’s written lines.
But the light from his huge heart always leaked through.
I wrote earlier this week about the unexpected death of a friend’s brother, and how we need to tell the people we love, that we love them – because they could be gone tomorrow.
Rita Wilson urged everyone today to do the same, because of Robin.
We also have to take depression seriously.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please don’t isolate. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Please tell someone. Reach out, because you are NOT alone. As Anne Lamott wrote so passionately, with her unflinching honesty and understanding of the subject: don’t step off into the abyss. There can be resurrection.
“In America they really do mythologize people when they die.”
The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)