I was about 7 or 8 years old when I first discovered Robin Williams, the frenetic, coke driven, cartoonish manchild that made me laugh, even when I had no damn idea what he was talking about.
I was a latchkey kid of the ’80’s, which, for the uninitiated, meant that I was released on my own recognizance from school to an empty house for hours everyday. Looking back on it now as a parent myself, who the fuck does that to a young kid. Well anyway, that was how I first stumbled across what would become, to me at least, the inner child that compensated for the outer child that I could never be. Hours alone in a house, rummaging through my fathers VHS collection, looking, frankly, for anything that sounded like something that I wasn’t supposed to see. And that was how I found him, specifically, Robin Williams: An Evening At The Met and I would watch that almost everyday for quite a few years…I think until the tape actually broke. But he became the person who could make me laugh no matter how heavy the load felt, no matter how fucked up my childhood got to be, Robin made me laugh
But I grew up to be a man blessed with affliction; bipolar disorder, panic attacks and PTSD, alcoholism. I grew up to be a man of empathy for those overcome by things most people simply don’t have the experience nor the context to understand. So when I found out that Robin Williams, that my inner child, had succumbed to something that I’ve thought about myself on more occasions than I can count, I just deflated. But grief is a twisted fucker. Sometimes, it really doesn’t want to hurt you, just make you remember.
So that night I sat down in front of my computer and watched Off The Wall and realized that even death can’t take Robin from us, because that spark of madness is in all of us, we just have to find it.