The news just broke about the reported suicide of Robin Williams. A suck of my breath as I heard it invade my mother’s watching of the evening news. A dragging of my computer back out. I had not turned it off. I’d started a post and it wasn’t right. I was regrouping. CNN? Nothing. The evening news must be wrong. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be the first time the mainstream media was wrong. Glad I didn’t take Brian Williams at his word. Let me Google though. One source showed up. Hadn’t heard of it. Looked at Twitter. There were a few voices but I had seen fake celeb deaths before. Google again. Oh. Damn. Not fake.
Before I get to rambling about Robin Williams, let me say I admire the fact that his family, the emergency staff, and so on, managed to keep a lid on the news for long enough that the publicist could release a statement, his wife could prepare a statement, and presumably, his children were notified. It wasn’t on TMZ while young children were still screaming for daddy as they rolled the stretcher out.
Back to Robin Williams, like everyone my age, my life was tattooed by Mork, first on Happy Days and then on Mork and Mindy. He became a star about the same time I was dipping into getting the jokes in stand up. Robin Williams threaded into and out of my life for the rest of his life. A movie, a late night tv show appearance when my husband was away, late night tv as I nursed my babies, another movie, daytime talk shows, and of course, last year I watched The Crazy Ones.
Watching The Crazy Ones, I remembered all those days and nights with the tv as company. I remembered the manic energy. I watched as Robin once again showed the kind of wall-bouncing energy of the same sort that tends to get me THE LOOK from my family and friends. I watched the frailty as well. Magnificent. A sit-com that was really a sit-com. But it was more. And as I watched a show set in Chicago, I started to think of the ways I could accidentally run into Robin Williams. I’ve got a drama geek child who attends Piven, for example. Robin and Jeremy Piven know each other. Dramatic child is dramatic. And funny. What if?
And I realized I would babble. I realized that as much as Robin Williams made me laugh and brought me to tears, he scared me. Was he dancing as fast as he could? Would he miss a step? What would that mean for my eccentricities? Would it mean anything?What would I see in those eyes close up?
After all, I never have had a drug or alcohol problem. No hospitalizations for depression.In fact, when concerned about depression, the doctors then smile and say “No, you aren’t depressed.” So why the fear? Why did seeing Robin Williams, a man I admired, a man that was such a part of so many domestic moments in my life scare me?
Perhaps because my heart knew it isn’t something outgrown. Perhaps because seeing that you aren’t out of danger once you are out of high school or make it past 27 or go to rehab and then stay sober for years after is frightening. It means you can’t stop worrying about the ones you love. It means you can’t trust that you are fine. It means that you can’t believe that all the genius madness is safe. That it is just a laugh, a cry, pretend.
So here I sit, just one more piece of breaking news when all the news seems “breaking” and I just want to hide far away from it all.