Yesterday, August 11, 2014 the world said goodbye to one of the most amazing and talented comedians of the 21st century, Robin Williams. I, personally, am terribly saddened by this tragedy. I grew up with Robin Williams. He helped shape my childhood into adulthood. I was born in 1978. By 1985, I was laughing to Mork and Mindy re-runs on Nick at Nite white running around the house chanting ‘Nanu Nanu.’ In 1989, I begged my parents (and got my wish) to see Dead Poets Society — because everyone was seeing it. The teacher, John Keating gave me a love for poetry. In 1990 I watched the movie Awakenings. It was the first movie that I can remember crying and truly being touched by. Robin Williams had a way of conveying sincere emotion through his acting, whether it was serious or comic. In 1991, I laughed and cried during the Disney film Hook. Peter Panning allowed me to look at my parents in a different light. They aren’t just stuffy adults, they were children once. In 1992, at the age of 14 I saw Aladdin and was truly memorized. My sister and I would rush home everyday and watch the video belting out the songs in our living room. I had the movie memorized. I still can remember, over twenty years later, parts of it and that makes me smile… “Prince Ali, fabulous he, Ali Ababa, strong as ten regular men naturally.” In 1993, we got Mrs. Doubtfire. I laughed and laughed and laughed and secretly harbored a desire to have my Dad dress in drag and make me pancakes. In 1995, after the movie Jumanji, I re-found a love for board games and played Monopoly, Life and Jenga every chance I got with my sister. In 1996, I was first introduced to the gay culture with the Birdcage. I loved that movie and also memorized it. I graduated from high school that year and you could often find me running down the halls of the school wildly chanting “Martha Graham, Martha Graham” while waiving my hands as Robin Williams character did in that movie. The Genie came back in 1996 (Aladdin and the Prince of Thieves) and yes, I bought the video, wore it out but still have it. I was introduced to the wonderful world of Flubber in 1997. I was obsessed with the little flubber creatures. My grandmother, who worked at the Disney store at the time, bought every single Flubber item they had for me. My dorm was flooded with Flubber. I still have a small Flubber stuffed animal that makes noise. Every time I hear it I think of my grandmother and smile. In 1997 I went on my first date. We saw Good Will Hunting. The date didn’t work out, but the movie and experience will live on in my memory. In 1998 I cried real tears when Patch Adams was shot. I vowed to go into some type of service profession. In 2002, I lost a few nights of sleep after watching One Hour Photo. Though the movie was so good, I would gladly take more restless nights and watch it again. In 2002, with Death to Smoochy, I finally realized I was old enough to appreciate adult humor in a Rated R movie. Thanks smoochy. In 2006, I went back to my childhood and laughed and danced to Happy Feet. Also in 2006, I got to live my wildest fantasy and learn what would happen if I spent a Night at the Museum. In 2007, although I still was yet to meet the love of my life, I dreamed of my wedding and hoped I didn’t have a crazy reverend like Reverend Frank in Licensed to Wed. (I didn’t, but I was scared.) Also in 2007, I was truly amazed by the power of children in August Rush. Mom and Dad, are you really my parents? And just recently, in 2013, two years after my wedding, I laughed and remembered good times watching the movie The Big Wedding. In the present day, if re-runs of Good Morning Vietnam or the Fisher King are playing, I will stop and watch memorized by the genius of Robin Williams.
Robin Williams, thank you. You influenced and shaped my transition from childhood to adulthood. You made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me scared and you made me happy. I am so saddened by your loss. My life has been enriched by you. I hope you find peace in heaven. Thank you.