Yesterday ended a weeklong trip to visit family in Texas. I'd had a good vacation, but I was ready to go home; I was anxious to get back to work, I was looking forward to seeing my boyfriend...I was in high spirits.
Sitting in the terminal at DFW, I was making full use of Facebook's uncanny ability to kill time when I suddenly came across a post that had just been written announcing Robin Williams' death. The first thought was, "Hoax." I mean, how many times has Morgan Freeman "died" already? But one of the comments contained a link to a Marin County police report.
It was no hoax.
Then Don Lemon, who was showing on the terminal televisions, deviated form the story he was reporting on to break the news: Robin Williams had been found dead of asphyxiation. Suicide.
My gut dropped through the floor. Normally celebrity affairs - trials and triumphs, the happy and the sad - don't affect me much. I appreciate them (or not) for the work they do (or don't), and while I feel some general emotion for them, they are people who have no impact on my life.
Williams, however, was one of the few I felt an emotional attachment to. I've always enjoyed watching him, and of all the roles he inhabited over the length of his career, the one I will always remember him for is as the Genie from Disney's Aladdin. For me, he will always be the ever-quotable manic blue djinn that cracked me up every time I put the VHS tape in.
There's not much I can add to the conversation at this point. David Wong at Cracked did a fantastic rundown on depression among comedians, and there are tributes to Williams' work all over the internet and every major television station. All I can contribute to the discussion is this: one line in particular encompasses everything he ever was, will be, and how he chose to leave this world:
"I'm history! No! I'm mythology! I don't care what I am! I'm FREE-HEEEEE!"
Yes, you are.