I ought to be mourning. Robin William is dead. There’s a tear about to spill in my eye… and yet there’s a grin trying to surface in my lips. I can’t help it. Every time I get to think of him and his tragic ending, only the good memories of his zany antics on the “Mork & Mindy” TV show and his stand-up comedy routines come to mind.
Another one of my childhood heroes is gone; I recall switching channels in the faraway year of 1979; I was barely a 12 year old kid and I was utterly bored with TV. I stopped momentarily at the image of a wild-looking individual, dressed in a red and silvery spacesuit. He was saying the most outrageous things. What is this insanity? I thought.
It was a very-young Robin Williams, doing one of his manic shticks as he addressed a rather bewildered Mindy on that show that has long gone into syndication afterlife.
I could have kept on surfing channels (not much of a chance back then; Venezuela was so backward even in those days that it only had 4 TV channels…. And two of them weren’t even worth to give a second glance) but I gave this crazy, bizarre man something that people never do to my books. A chance: I stopped… and listened to what he had to say.
I fell in love with the TV show; finally, here was someone who was able to pinpoint the funny absurdity of mankind in a brave and original way, expressing it through his dry and poignant observations about our culture. Most people didn’t pay him much attention, because the character was an alien from another planet and he really doesn’t know much of how we do things on planet Earth, doesn’t he? They just chuckled and went “Oh, what a silly guy!” (Now, let’s be honest… would we tolerate this behavior coming from Chuck, the Plumber from Poughkeepsie? I guess not).
Well, the show began to falter after the second season and eventually got cancelled, but after it went away, I kept scouring the news about anything that had to do with Robin Williams. I even went to the theater to catch The World According to Garp… not as funny, but definitely a dry, witty satire about how we deal among ourselves on this planet.
This man… has molded me… He will never know it now, but he gave me direction and purpose, even from such a great distance. His sense of humor had always inspired me. Anyone grabbing a copy of Eco Station or The Karaoke Duo would find a similar manic comedy inside these books. He scared the heck out of me in 1-Hour Photo and made me feel sad with The Dead Poets Society. But most important, he made me feel hopeful. Carpe Diem.
Farewell, Mork… I’ll miss you a lot.
I feel like crying… but I can’t help it about smiling at the same time.