One of my favorite memories: I was 17 and it was my first week of college at San Francisco State. I was living in the dorms. Frightened, away from home for the first time, and living outside the bubble of my hometown. I had joined the cross country team and we were running around Golden Gate Park. We passed a guy tying his shoes and someone said, “Is that Robin Williams?” He turned around and we were like, oh shit that’s him!
When we stopped to stretch, he came running up behind us and walked in our direction. We all just stood there not knowing what to do and one of the guys on the team just started clapping so the rest of us started clapping, too. And we were all clapping as Robin Williams is coming up to us like a bunch of idiots.
He asked if he could stretch with us and we talked for a little while. He just asked us questions about the team, where we’re from, quipped off our replies and essentially “worked the room” on us. My teammate next to me looked over and whispered, “That’s my dad’s favorite actor.” I said, “I know. Me, too.”
I was missing home a little less that day. I bought in to how exciting and unpredictable a city could be. I think we were all surprised that he wanted to sit there and talk to us and, most of all that, he seemed to actually be enjoying it. And there was that part of me that thought to myself, how could he smile so big and still make me feel like he’s sad all at the same time.
As I’ve gotten older I think about looking at him and wonder during all those times I try to laugh or make people laugh do I show in the same ways. Some of my happiest memories growing up are sitting around with the family watching TV and how many of those times it was him on the screen and we’re all laughing.
That kind of shit is important to me. When it comes down to it I feel for a person who brought me happiness in my life and to my family however small or great a gift it is. And I feel bad that this person decided to end their life. Fuck a celebrity this or that. I feel bad for this person who unknowingly did something really good for me.