- 9:53 pm - Mon, Aug 11, 2014
- 19 notes
I remember being about 8 or 9 years old when I was on vacation with my mom. We’d go up to the northern part of the lower peninsula every year for my birthday, just her and I on the road. We’d adventure, explore the state of Michigan, and find somewhere cool to make a pitstop for a couple days before hitting Mackinac. We’d usually stop in Grayling first, at a strip motel called The Hospitality House. That’s where I learned that grown-ups are far different than children, but also a little bit the same. Through the comedy of Robin Williams.
See, we’d get take-out from the local pizza place and sit and watch TV, picking out modern stuff from old movies, or laughing at dumb stuff we usually didn’t take the time to watch. Also because this hotel had premium channels like HBO, and we were living in a trailer at the time, so you could say we weren’t in the highest income bracket. I remember Robin Williams’ special came on and he was swearing and talking about p*ssy and cocaine and all this stuff and I looked at my mom like “What is Mork doing right now?!?!”.
As a kid, you’re sheltered until you find out about truth yourself. Or someone slips up and lets you see behind the curtain a little. She let me sit and watch some of his special because I really wanted to. I begged her to. I loved Mork and Mindy, and Peter Pan, and I also think she knew even at that age that it wasn’t going to corrupt me, that I was just interested in something funny, and it wasn’t going to turn me into a horrible adult. At that age, I just knew I liked it, I knew it made me feel good, and my interest was piqued by this new rhetoric I was exposed to, Like I somehow saw behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain a little. Not everything in life is like it is on Sesame Street.
Fast forward about 20 years and I’m sitting on a rooftop, contemplating if 11 floors is enough to make the fall quick enough but still painless when I hit the pavement. I called a comedian friend and told him where I was and what I was doing. That I’d hit a point where I didn’t have control over my own emotions or actions, and that I desperately needed help. I made this call 3rd. After my mom and my girlfriend, and neither had picked up. My mom was working and my girlfriend was still angry at me over the fight we’d just been having. Thankfully that third phone call had a voice at the other end. My friend made me laugh a little. Asking about the roof, he cracked a joke and then assured me that he’d get me some help. I went back downstairs, cried, and then listened to an old Robin Williams special. The same one from when I was a kid. I started cracking a smile when we was doing the bits about p*ssy and coke that I’d remembered from my youth. Feeling more comfortable listening to them since my mother wasn’t in the same room with me this time.
My mom and I shared many memories watching Williams’ movies, old Mork and Mindy episodes on Nick At Night, or his live specials, and he was one person that always moved me. Always lit a fire inside of me. Always showed me that life is…magical. Yes, I said that and I know how horribly corny it sounds. Living in LA, when I meet celebrities, talent, directors… people that have touched my life in a deeply profound way, my biggest joy is shaking their hand and thanking them. That’s my closure on the years of nostalgia and pop icon that they’ve created over the years, the same emotion that pushed me to pack my car and drive here having never visited, only knowing my whole life LA is where I belong. He’s now one person I’ll be forever chasing that closure on. I’ll never be able to tell him how I grew up with fond memories of his work, or that he’s somewhat responsible for me being out here. Or STILL being here. I’ll never get to shake his hand and share a moment I waited so long for.
I wish Robin Williams had picked up the phone and called his own comedian friend. To make him laugh, to make him feel less alone. Someone to pick up at the other end of the phone can sometimes mean the world to someone in need. Not every beggar is going to spend that money on alcohol or drugs. I have to believe that or the world isn’t worth its existence at all. I have to believe that sometimes, someone wants help so bad, that a little moment of hope can snowball into recovery.
Every time I tell someone I suffer from depression I see the look in their eyes. I see them say to me ‘cheer up and stop being sad’ or ‘life’s not THAT bad’. The truly sad part is that sometimes they actually say it with their mouths. They don’t get it, though. At all. If there’s one amazing thing that comes from this I hope it’s that we all look to another person and just say thank you. Tell them thank you for still being here, for not giving up. We only talk about suicide when one happens, and then we forget about it and are too shameful to talk about it because it disgusts us, and it’s scary. Try being on the other side of it, powerless. Try sitting on the roof.