Death is difficult, that's why it's called death. We have all been affected by it, it's the only sure thing in life, that it ends with the end, yet it never ceases to derail us. And so to the news of Robin Williams, too young at 63 and unusually old to take his own life, is a steamrolling peice of sad news.
Growing up in the 80s I'm not exaggerating when I say that Robin Wiliams was HUGE. Mork and Mindy was like somebody turning on the lights in gloomy Ireland and we all made sure we were at home, glued to the TV when the show came on. How daft he was, how reassuringly silly and comfortingly bonkers. The greeting Nanu nanu became the norm with me and my pals as we met each other and shook hands in this Orcan manner. I often attempted sitting on the couch head-stand style, like he did, but of course it was uncomfortable and made me feel sick. Saying everything backwards and putting your jacket on back-to-front made the mundacity of the evereyday, just a bit more colourful. I wished I had an alien living in my attic and not a bunch of old photo albums, I dreamed of being abducted by Orcans, might still happen…
Movies and stand up showed the world the other side of Wiliams, he always managed to bring humour to the parts, even with the sensitive mentor role in Goodwill Hunting, the heartbroken devoted husband in the Fisher King, the doctor in Awakenings, the dark stalker in One Hour Photo, he never stopped working. For me, Dead Poets Society will always be his greatest work. For teens trying to find their voice, priviledged or not, he found the srtist in every one. If you were lucky you had your own Captain my captain in your school years. He spoke to us all when he told us Carpe Diem, sieze the day, make your lives extraordinary.
Robin Wiliams, gone in the years you imagine when things might get easier, that you don't care what people think and you begin to enjoy the freedom that comes with that. The next time someone tells you you're getting old, thank them for the compliment, for to live into old age is indeed a priviledge, the alternative is dying young.
Nanu Nanu x