This song from Inside Llewyn Davis has been playing in my head all day, the moment I heard of Robin Williams’ untimely death – Hang Me, Oh Hang Me…
You know why? That’s probably what Robin Williams has been saying throughout his life. In the pursuit of others’ happiness, he lost the battle to regain his own. Unfortunately, there probably was no one to listen to him. Maybe that’s what he thought. Depression is a disease, not just a ‘state of mind’, as is so often thought. It needs care, just like cancer, or a heart ailment. But that’s a discussion for another forum.
I’m here to celebrate the comedian who’s had the most impact on my childhood. Charlie Chaplin was way before my time, Jim Carrey came in much later. Robin Williams was REALLY funny. Funny is a word thrown around loosely these days – it’s lost a bit of its meaning, but Robin Williams could LITERALLY make you roll on the floor laughing (and you wouldn’t even have to reduce it to an internet acronym).
Tributes are pouring in about his virtuoso performances in Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam. Magnificent performances that deserve not just awards, but probably should be handed out as life lessons to young adults.
But I won’t be talking about those movies. I’ll be talking about three movies that defined the essence of Robin Williams. Jumanji, Jack and Mrs. Doubtfire.
What’s common to these three films, you ask me? My dear amigos, these three films showed that Robin Williams had a childlike streak in his personality.
One of his more famous quotes reads “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.” Replace madness with childlike behaviour, and the meaning doesn’t change much.
Let’s look at the films. Jumanji – a boy loses his childhood to a voodoo board game and returns to civilisation as a grown man – but he still remembers things as if he were a child. Jack – a 10-year old child in a 40-year old man’s body, suffering from progeria (the disease of rapid ageing). And Mrs. Doubtfire – the ageless Mrs. Doubtfire who had a vivid, chidlike imagination.
That is precisely why I said in the beginning that his was an untimely death. 63? Ah, it’s just a number – he was probably as energetic as a 6.3 year-old. Unfortunately, it also probably meant that, like a child, he probably was too scared to talk about his depression, and put on a funny face. He masked his own fears and ensured that the others around him didn’t face the same fate. There are so many stories of his warm-hearted, generous nature (again, an untouched, clean heart, like a child) that it would probably take 50 blog posts to talk about them all.
Oh Robin, what I would give to just sit with you, talk to you, and make YOU laugh for a change. How I wish I could tell you how many of us love you for what you’ve done for us.
Hey God, you know what? I’m jealous of you. He’ll make you laugh till your insides hurt. I just have one request – please take care of him and give him peace. He didn’t find any among us human beings.
I could go on and on… but the more I want to write, the more I can’t. I can’t put it as eloquently as Robin Williams.
I’d like to end with a quote from everybody’s favourite principal – Albus Dumbledore. Given his childlike nature, I’m sure Robin would’ve loved the Harry Potter stories.
“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
I hope you’re having a lot of fun in heaven, Jack. I’ll miss you terribly. Thanks for leaving behind all those wonderful memories.
Maybe, just maybe if I roll those dice correctly…