Some thoughts on suicide and Robin Williams’ passing…

1047c26a6b413b397f046a7624afcedeSuicide isn’t funny, but we sure do seem to lose an awful lot of funny people to it, don’t we?

Looking back at my own life, I’ve known too many people who’ve tried to commit suicide … granted, of course, that even one is too many.

Some of them succeeded, some of them failed, and I don’t think any of them you ever would’ve guessed from the surface that things had gotten that bad in their own heads. Which is a terrifying consideration when I think about some of the closer ones to me, but I think that proves just how devilish of a beast depression can be … and just when you think someone is through the worst of it all, it very much still has the capability of rearing its ugly head in the worst possible way.

And it sucks because now that all of the dialog is present and we talk about trying to be there for those in need, this is the time when the most important questions we have to ask those people who we’ve lost remain unanswered … why’d you do it? What was it that finally pushed you over the edge?? What could *I* have done differently so that you’d still be here with us???

We’ll never know, and the only thing we can really do is try to be a little more understanding, and pay a little better attention, and be there a little more for our friends and family all of the time because we never know when today might be that day when they’re clinging to the edge, waiting for someone … anyone … to come along and reach out a hand to help them back up.

We may try to put ourselves in their shoes, but we can’t … not even the ones who tried and failed, because they failed … whatever they were going through wasn’t quite enough … and don’t get me wrong, that’s a very, very good thing that we should be grateful for. Yet to try and quantify the ones who succeeded…

I mean, I’ve thought about it before, but never very seriously. I’ve thought about a lot of different things that are admittedly pretty morbid, but most of them I’d never carry through with … in a way, I think part of that is just the crux of being a storyteller. The creative mind wanders to all sorts of dark corners in search of its next work of art … we just don’t choose to share the lot of them with anyone but ourselves…

Truth be told, I’m actually quite terrified of my own death – to the point where I hate thinking about that part of my future because just not being makes me very sad and I haven’t really come to terms with the thought of mortality in my 34 years so far – but I’ve certainly had bad days where the thought has crossed my mind whether the people around me might be better off without. I think another part of it in my head is me just being passive aggressive – “I’ll show them…” and that kind of mentality, but then I step back and put it into context in reality, and I remember that life does go on without these people. It’s hard until it gets easier, and we always remember them, but suicide is a lousy way to get back at somebody because egos have a funny way of dissipating quite quickly after one dies.

I think we all get low from time to time, and your definition of low may vary from mine and somebody else’s … but the definition of low to someone who’s depressed is in an entirely different sphere that we’ll just never know. And that’s both a good and a bad thing.

* * *

I think my favorite memory of Robin Williams was watching him host Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal on HBO. He was always so off the wall and unpredictable, and he wasn’t burdened by movie ratings or a censor as to what types of dirty jokes were off limits. It was just so cool to watch three of the biggest names in comedy riffing off of each other for hours on end between each act, and it was one of the things that kind of inspired me to create Just Laugh because I wanted to be a part of something cool like that, too…

Something I probably shouldn’t admit in public – I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Good Morning, Vietnam.

I guess I need to get on that.

But Aladdin, Dead Poet’s Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting … some of the dialog from Good Will Hunting bring tears to my eyes with how raw and emotional he could deliver, and yet on the other side with Genie he’s probably one of the most memorable characters to come out of The Disney Decade…

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Good Will Hunting

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Dead Poet’s Society

“Oi! Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck.” – Aladdin

And he named his daughter Zelda – just how amazingly cool is that?!

Robin Williams always seemed like a pretty great guy. He made a lot of us laugh, and he made a lot of us think, and that’s how I’m going to remember him. 🙂

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