This is my 100th post on tumblr. It doesn’t really mean anything, but I was thinking of how to make it a little special because I have a hard time sticking with projects. It seems only right that I give this post to Robin Williams.
I was 3 years old when I first saw Mrs Doubtfire in the movie theatres. I don’t remember it very well, but I do remember laughing and being incredibly amused by a cross-dressing Robin Williams. I went on to watch Mrs Doubtfire over 200 times between ages 3 and 16. It was one of three VHS tapes that were at my family’s ranch home that could hold everyone’s interest. My cousins and I would visit every summer and rotate through the three VHS tapes while our parents were taking care of business stuff. We’d start with Mrs Doubtfire, move on to Erin Brockovich, then to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and back to Mrs Doubtfire. Sometimes we would just rewind and re-watch Mrs Doubtfire the whole trip, not even bothering with the other two. Much to our parents’ distress, we were able to recite the whole “Figaro” sequence by heart - and did so with great gusto on the road trip back home many times.
One of my only complete memories of my Great Grandma Emilie is watching Aladdin from her living room floor as Genie sings “You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me”. I remember wondering aloud that the movie looked wider in the movie theaters and why did it look so boxy on her rear-projection television? She didn’t have an answer.
When I was 14 I borrowed the screenplay of Dead Poet’s Society from the Library as reading material for English class. I had never seen the movie, but I knew Robin Williams was in it so I thought it could be great. As I got to the end of the screenplay in class, I began to sob. In the screenplay, Neil’s suicide occurs right after his theatrical debut, and his father’s disappointment. He sneaks into his father’s study later and exchanges his wreath of laurels for the gun. People were uncomfortably peeking at me from behind their paperback Goosebumps and Harry Potters and as I sobbed, I was discovering the meaning of passion. Neil’s passion is one that inspires life and death choices. Passion for something that if no longer possessed you cannot live without it. Passion that makes you hungry for life. It inspired me to go forth and live with passion - a part of myself I’d not yet discovered.
I was 18 and it was a Saturday night. I was spending it with my then-boyfriend and his parents, watching Mythbusters and drinking Coca Colas. The DVR’d episode finished and the regular television transitioned in to Live in the Actor’s Studio with Robin Williams. It was about a quarter of the way through but we watched it anyway. I remember laughing so hard that coke came out my nose, and then laughing even harder because Robin Williams can’t stop won’t stop when it comes to being funny.
Except now he has. And all we have is all he has given us. What we didn’t cherish before we will now with an unprecedented appreciation. One of the world’s greatest lights has been extinguished, and we are left in the lurch of what to do without you.
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.