I have been in a foul mood all day long. I was in a meeting yesterday afternoon and I had a bit of an attitude, but I think my funk began yesterday when I found out Robin Williams had died. I got a lot sadder this morning when I heard it was a suicide. Here's a guy who has made me laugh so hard that watermelon came out of my nose. He has made me giggle till I cried and, as great actor can also do, he's made me cry till I laughed. All day today I've been sad and angry at the same time--sad that somebody who'd given me so much joy was, himself, so sad; I was angry because I never got time to sit still and be sad about it (an admittedly selfish feeling in this case). I wanted to post about Soundgarden and Linkin Park, but I'll post those later. Right now I'm just reflecting. Maybe you are, too. The irony is sad and painful that someone who made us so happy ultimately lost to his own despair.
Williams portrayed some of the characters who meant the most to me: Parry in The Fisher King, Genie in Aladdin (I'm not ashamed to admit it, so be quiet), Sean McGuire in Good Will Hunting, John Keating in The Dead Poets' Society, and Adrian Cronaur in Good Morning Vietnam. Parry in The Fisher King was so awesome to me because he was such a raw, unpretentious character. Mr Keating in The Dead Poets' Society taught poetry so passionately that I was convinced I, too, wanted to be a teacher who would help my students see things from a new, maybe even eccentric point of view. But it was Adrian Cronaur who brought them all together for me. Cronaur was a dj for Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam. His character brought music and reality together with that same insane humor and sensitive personality that felt so authentic. A friend had given me the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack for Christmas one year, and I listened that cassette tape into submission--and I laughed at the snippets of Williams' Cronaur in between songs.
In all of his characters, Williams made poetry and music and psychology and heart and courage real. Those are virtues that he shared with the world, virtues that he had to have known profoundly in order to display them so clearly, so deeply. But the one thing that his characters had in common was that they, when it came to life, wanted to "go all in," even if they seemed more than a little crazy. Maybe living our lives that way wouldn't be such a bad way to live our lives--"You gotta be crazy. Ain't no time to be sane."
Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuk8AOjGURE