Well, hell. We are now living in a world without Robin Williams, and if you would have told me that news would cause me to break down crying on a Monday evening I would have told you no waybut so it goes, I guess. “Dead Poets Society” is the second movie in my life that made me cry (the first being, of course, “E.T.”) and Robin Williams has been a mainstay actor in my life. It’s possible I am the only person in America who loathed “Mrs. Doubtfire,” (I hated what he was doing to his kids! Anyone could see it would turn out badly!) but even though I read the book first, for me, Robin Williams WAS Garp in “The World According to Garp” despite it’s first life as a novel. I am hopeful our On Demand stations will have some sort of movie offerings over the weekend to honor Robin Williams – I would like to fall into “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Fisher King,” “Dead Poets Society.”
So many people are expressing shock at Robin William’s suicide and yes, the manner was shocking, but I feel as though it was relatively common knowledge that he battled addiction and depression, or maybe I just assumed it, because so many comedians do? I’m not sure. I do know that many of our most beloved artists are constantly fending off demons. Too many of my friends and family, when it comes right down to it, struggle in similar ways, whether its with addiction or depression or some shattering cocktail of the two. And it’s hard – hard for those of us who don’t have these problems, to truly understand, I think. Right now a conversation is happening – an importantconversation – about demystifying and destigmatizing mental illness, and I desperately hope it’s a conversation that continues.
All of this leaves me wondering, though, what can I do? What can those of us who for some bizarre, chemical reason are able to see through the horrors occurring between Palestine and Israel, who are able to hear the latest from Iraq and somehow compartimentalize it, what can we do? Well, I know I can love, unconditionally, unabashedly and without judgment those I know struggling with similar issues. Also, I can pepper the internet with a list of good things. Oh, I’m not sure this is particularly helpful in any way, but maybe it will be to someone – at the very least, it is good for me.
A List of Things That Are Good
God.God is good.
The peaches this summer.
My baby boy’s sweet sweet cheeks.
My daughter’s word for worm: squirm.
Reading a horror novel during the dog-days of August.
The deep deep blue the sky becomes as autumn draws near.
Texting with my friends because none of us want to call each other and risk waking our babes.
The first sip of coffee in the morning (and all the other coffee that follows).
Breaking a sweat.
For that matter, the bounty of vegetables available in mid-August.
My marriage, at it lengthens and deepens.
Turning up a song by Billy Joel when one comes on the radio and teaching your daughter the lyrics.
Finger painting on the front porch.
The words “cream butter and sugar.”
And gin and tonics.
The promise of Friday evenings – the possibility of Sunday evenings.
You know what? I am tempted to force this list, but I am not going to. This is everything today that I can think of as good. And it is enough.