“Now in my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. I see that look in Mr. Pitt’s eye, like 19th Century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school. Right? Maybe. Mr. Hopkins, you may agree with him, thinking ‘Yes, we should simply study our Mr. Pritchard and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions.’ I have a little secret for ya. Huddle up. Huddle up!
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman: ‘O me, o life of the questions of these recurring, of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, o me, o life?’ Answer: that you are here. That life exists, and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Countless of people will write about the passing of Robin Williams. They will write about their favorite movies, favorite lines or maybe even their favorite memories of actually meeting Mr. Williams. Blog sites will be overrun with people talking about suicide and depression. They will spread awareness about these issues. I have decided to write how Mr. Williams personally touched my life, without ever meeting me.
For myself, I first met Robin as an alien from another planet. He made funny voices and made me laugh. I saw him on Happy Days when I was maybe three or four. I had no real idea what he was saying or doing, I just know he made me laugh. I was next introduced to him as a Genie, who just wanted to be free. From there, I met a father who loved his children so much, he became a woman for them. A guy that was stuck in a never ending game. Even a doctor who wanted to cure the sick with medicine AND laughter. Robin Williams could always make me laugh, still can to this day. But those are not my fondest memories of Mr. Williams. The memories I hold closest are those moments that made me think. The moments that made me relish the fact that I was a part of something far greater than myself. Even in those moments though, I still laughed. I laughed, I cried, I contemplated. Very rarely, if ever do you get to see an actor or actress on the big screen bring out every emotion possible. I recently watched What Dreams May Come, but I was busy with other things as well why watching it. I do want to go back and re-watch it soon.
The first movie I ever saw with Mr. Williams to make me do more than just laugh, was Good Morning, Vietnam. Sure, I laughed quite a bit during that movie, but that movie also did something more to me. I questioned the War, which for most wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I however, had an Uncle who fought over in that war. An Uncle who could never talk about that war, who was never the same after that war. My Uncle, who was always very reserved about the Vietnam War, could watch that movie with me. My uncle could laugh during that movie. My uncle cried during that movie. I cried during that movie.
My next brush with the greatness that was Mr. Williams was as a teacher at an all boys academy, Dead Poets Society. Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. After watching this movie, I wanted to be Mr. Keating. I still hope to be able to one day inspire students to be great, to do greater than they thought possible and to step out of their boxes. To constantly be willing to look at things in a different way.
The movie that had the biggest impact on my life, is Good Will Hunting. Sean Maguire taught me things I still do my best to live out today. The entire movie is brilliantly written, with amazing acting. The movie is great, but there are a couple of scenes that I always go back to, when I need some motivation. One is the famous bench scene that taught me the most from that film. It made me want to experience life, not sit by idle while others live.
The other scene is known as, “When Did you Know?” I tend to lean on the side of being a hopeless romantic. That scene is the epitome of just that.
Mr. Williams was an actor, who never seemed to stop acting. You will be missed, you will never be forgotten. You taught so many generations about the pursuit of living. Your verse is one of a kind. Your verse will go on, even though you are gone. You played your role magnificently Mr. Williams. From Alien, DJ, Doctor, Nanny, President there was no one or nothing you could not portray. I hope in these times, you are remembered not for the roles you portrayed on camera. I hope you are remembered for the greatest role you ever played, human.