Irreplaceable

One of the problems with being lucky enough to have a forum like Unshaved Mouse is that you feel obliged to sound off on everything, even if you don’t have anything particularly insightful or unique to say about the subject at hand. Again and again I’ll sit down to write something about Gaza or Ukraine or Iraq and a still small voice pipes up in the back of my head.
“Mouse. Do you really having anything to say about this that hasn’t already been said, probably better, and by people who actually know what they’re talking about?”
“…no.”
“Then why are you writing it? Idiot?”
And I hate that guy, but he’s usually right. But this time, it just felt wrong to let it go by unremarked.
This…
This was a bad one, wasn’t it?
I mean, beloved actors die all the time but for whatever reason Robin William’s death has really hit people where they live. Last night, the scene in the House of Mouse was my wife tearing up at the end of Hook (“To die will be an awfully big adventure” “Death is the only adventure, you know that.”) and my two year old daughter stroking her hair and telling her over and over that it was “Alright Mammy.” This one hit hard.
I think the reason that William’s death has elicited real, genuine, personal grief from so many people is that each generation had “their” Robin Williams whether it was Mork or John Keating or Genie. Another reason maybe is that he feels so irreplaceable. No one else did what Robin Williams did, his style, his energy were just so unique and instantly recognisable. That’s gone now, and, as the Irish expression goes: Ní bheidh a leithéad arís annHis like will not be seen again.
He deserved better than this. He deserved to die happy in bed aged ninety nine and doing an impression of Elmer Fudd reading the emancipation proclamation. Not like this. Maybe that’s why it hurts so badly. This is not how the story is supposed to end.
I just want to finish with this. As I said already, this is nothing that has not already been said, better and more eloquently, a million times before. But I’m here, and you’re here, so I might as well write it and you might as well read it. As wonderful a performer as he was, as rare and talented and utterly iconic, he was not one jot more or less unique and irreplaceable than anyone else reading this. And if you ever feel like you want out, please remember that there has never been anyone like you before, and there will never be anyone like you after. And that to lose you would be a loss every bit as tragic and terrible and irreversible as his was. I’ve never been suicidal, thank God, but I have, like most people, dealt with depression from time to time. Talk to someone before it gets bad. Trust me on this. Talk to friends, or family, or a counselor. Talk to me if you want.
And remember this above all; depression is like everything else in this life. Temporary.
Stay safe.
Mouse.

24 comments

  1. I run out of tissues i cried so much. I’m going to miss him. His energy, his humor, and his acting were all one of a kind. He was one of the few you instantly recognized when you heard his voice, and not for the weirdness of it. Far from it. It was the sheer energy he had and carried with him. But his passing reminds me of a joke I heard once, not so much funny now, but always worth sharing.

    Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

    1. A joke? I know this story too, but it is not meant to be a joke. It is a cautious tale to remind people that what you see on the surface has no bearing on what goes inside someone. That we all put on mask when we are in public.

      Fitting nevertheless…

      1. Loved Rorschach in that movie. He had a dry sense of humor from years of fighting crime, and in the end, he was just a man fighting his own inner demons. The one thing I loved most about Watchmen though, was with the exception of Dr. Manhattan, there really were no superpowers. No super strength, no super speed, no flying, no heat rays, just normal people who said enough, donned a mask and started training to fight crime and succeeded.

        But I digress.

      2. The problem with the movie is that Znyder used so much slo mo that if you didn’t know the comics you wouldn’t be sure if the other characters had super powers or not.

  2. I think the only comedian who in some way compares to Robin Williams is Steve Martin. Legendary standup comic and hugely successful movie career. But that doesn’t make this hurt any less.

  3. Well said, Mouse. I’ve mostly avoided any articles about his death to this point. The situation is sad enough. Any details will just make it worse. I think the reason people have rallied around his death is because he was a childhood icon to so many people. This is like the death of Bambi’s mother or Simba’s father. The real sadness is that we can’t turn off the movie and say “It’s just a story. They always have happy endings anyway.”
    If there is a silver lining, maybe Robin Williams can open the conversation on depression. He found laughter in everything. Now he can help others find the help they need.

  4. RIP Robin Williams 😦
    Mouse, I don’t know if you’ve seen it (what am I saying, you probably have), but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences posted on this on Twitter:

    Genie, you're free. http://t.co/WjA9QuuldD— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 12, 2014

    photo/1
    This tweet has generated mixed reception. On one side, people say that, while well intentioned, it came across as irresponsible and sends the message that if depressed people want to free themselves from torment, then go ahead and kill yourselves. On the other hand, people also say that, while the way he went out was horrible, it’s meant to share the message that he’s free from torment and depression and it’s a nice tribute to his death by mentioning one of his most recognized and beloved characters.
    Which way do you feel? Because I can honestly see both sides’ point of view.

      1. Yeah, I think The Academy was focusing more on him being free from his torment and depression than glorifying suicide. Though I can see where the other side of the argument is coming from.

        Any which way, I don’t think I will ever be able to watch Aladdin with a dry eye now. 😦

  5. You should review HOOK. One of my favourite movies – I still don’t understand d why many people think it’s “meh” :mrgreen:

  6. *Hugs from across the pond*

    Watching “Dead Poet’s Society” was hard enough. Now it’s going to be even worse. 😦

  7. Bless you for this post and your encouraging words, Mouse. Speaking from personal experience, a support network is the greatest gift you can give to someone, in any situation, but in depression especially.

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