I only just learned he passed. I found the news on a blog post and instantly recalled the two times I met the incredibly gifted artist, named Robin Williams.
The first instance was a chance meeting, me walking down an unassuming sidewalk at dusk stuck in my thoughts when a puppy jumped on my leg. I didn’t do much thinking, I simply bend down and started playing with him. The voice offering an apology was one I knew also without the use of my thinking apparatus, Robin Williams was saying sorry for his puppy… who couldn’t talk (I think!).
We actually talked for a few minutes, mostly about the puppy. I remember having the feeling he needed not to be recognized, but to be treated like a regular guy walking a friendly, cool puppy. Talking on a city street as we were, it didn’t take long for the snowball effect of other people recognizing him even in the growing darkness to bloom. You know what he did next? He apologized again for having to leave! I told him it was OK, still not going the ‘star-tripping route’.
Robin Williams then did something I will never forget: He laughed at a parting joke I made, thanked me, and was gone into the night.
I met him again, oddly enough in a toy store. It was another instance of him trying to do what all regular folks do during Christmas, buy a gift or two for someone he loved. Being famous can make such a simple thing problematic. The customers who spotted him got pretty loud, on the verge of hysterics only his signing autographs would squelch.
The Robin Williams I met twice seemed to love people, but didn’t wear his fame well. I get the feeling the fame asked too much of him… all the time.
He’ll be missed by millions… millions! Think of those kinds of numbers for a minute?
If doing what you love bought you that kind of fame… would you still be able to find your way to inner peace? happiness? love?
R.I.P., Robin. You done good, kid!
Update: I would be remiss if I didn’t add to this post a few of my favorite Robin Williams movies into this post
The Fisher King is a movie I saw at a big turning point in my life. I saw it with my friend Kevin in Germany(!) the night before I returned to the states. Funny as only Robin could be on film, poignant, and with a great ‘message’. Check it out if you’ve never seen it or need a reminder of Robin’s genius!
What Dreams May Come is a film that wore me out in its first forty-five or so minutes. A serious film about horrific loss and the spiritual redemption it can lead to. Again, I won’t give anything away just in case! Worth watching, just prepare yourself for the beginning…
K.L. © 2014