The news of Robin Williams’ passing was what I thought was a sick joke – a stunt by some Twitter troll trying to cause some controversy. But as news outlet after news outlet confirmed the story, Monday night had the sad realization that our world is now a little less funny. His work ranged from an inspirational teacher in Dead Poets Society, to a thoughtful therapist in Good Will Hunting, a mystical genie in Aladdin and the lovable dad/British nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire. Every piece of work he gave his heart to left his audience with a lesson – something I appreciate wholeheartedly.
While he was an actor who had a range of talent of both drama and comedy, Robin Williams for me will always be a hero of humor. His humor was energetic. It captivated and awoken you. You couldn’t pause a movie that he was in because you were hooked. You couldn’t stop laughing and the best part of it all – you didn’t want to stop laughing.
I’ll never forget watching Mrs. Doubtfire when I was just a little pipsqueak. Whether it was his ability to transform himself into a sweet old lady, or rather a hopeless single dad pretending to be a sweet old lady, scream “Hello” in a British accent with a face full of icing, or tell a miserable coworker to piss off, it only took a few seconds for Robin Williams to have us wrapped around his finger and our stomachs hurting from laughter.
The one thing that has come from growing up with movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin is that humor is so incredibly necessary. It fuels imagination. It builds relationships. It breeds optimism and hope. It makes us happy.
There shouldn’t be a day that passes where humor is not in the mix. It’s bonds us to other people. Whether it’s cheering up someone who is down, or a camaraderie with friends; making fun of yourself, or making fun of the world. It can also be life-fulfilling. Whether it’s used to find some light in the darkest of times or awakening the ridiculous possibilities of life and reliving the memories of the good old days.
Whatever the case, humor is a lifesaver. But it is but a precious gift. We can all do a better job of letting the stress, the worry, the fear, and the frustrations of life take a back seat for once and just enjoy the time we have. After all, if there is another lesson in this tragedy is that life is so unbelievably short and precious. It can be here today and gone tomorrow.
I’ve been known as a goof by friends, someone who fits into the category of funny dork. To me, that title is one I wear proudly. I may not be the next Michael Jordan, or the next Albert Einstein, I may not even be the next Ghandi, but in my own way I’d like to think of myself as an up-and-coming, off-beat, knock-off-brand Robin Williams. That’s because I love to laugh, a lot. I love to make people laugh, a lot (even more so than making them cry). When I’m not laughing at myself, or even making myself laugh (yes, they are two different things, and yes I do think I’m funny as hell) my friends and family are making me laugh. Today brought endless jokes with coworkers, laughing with my mom while trying desperately to save the sprinkles on my already melted ice cream cone and laughing at Robin Williams scenes as I wrote this blog. So while there was a lot I could’ve complained about today, I laughed. And to me a good laugh makes it all worth it, as told by my poetic genius:
So laugh a little, then laugh a lot, because there is no life worth living if laughter is not.