There was no mistake that Robin Williams came into public awareness like most of our favorite superheroes do, in a garish costume that hid his identity. His was bright red with silver trim, his faced masked by the dark visor of a ridiculously huge space helmet. His character’s name was Mork from the planet Ork.
Rather than hide the identity of Robin Williams, Mork propelled him into public stardom, revealing his super powers. Where Mork could point his finger and make amazing things happen, Robin could do something greater. He could make the whole world laugh.
What an amazing ability he had to bring joy to a world that so needed it. His humor was spontaneous, infectious and, seemingly, never ending.
But Robin had another identity and power that he hid from us his entire life. One that we wish he had never shared. He had the ability to make the world weep.
Sure, we saw glimpses of this ability in his many brilliant dramatic roles. He knew how to reach into our hearts and stir up those feelings that moved us.
We were positive that was simply great “acting.”
This is what most of us wanted to believe, until his final “act” when Robin succumbed to his hidden self and demonstrated his other, more nefarious power, crushing the world with sadness.
Fortunately, he could only use that power once. Though his secret identity has been revealed, the shock and the sorrow brought by it will soon ebb, overshadowed by the lasting power of his laughter and talent that the world will forever recognize him by.
Most of us can never say we actually knew the man. Those that were fortunate enough to call him friend or family wish they could have known better what only he knew about himself. He took his true identity, with all its pain, to his grave.
We can only know what the existence of Robin Williams continues to mean to us each, individually. His loss has taught us all to look deeper into ourselves and each other, to see beyond the surface, no matter how brilliant or dull, how perfect or damaged. To realize that we all have our own secret identities.
We all wear a faux self that masks our true identities. It is our secret defense mechanism that helps us to survive our greatest fears of the world and ourselves. Call a it a facade, personality, likeness or attitude, it gets most of us through each day and through our lives.
Through this personal filter, most of us will chose to remember the Robin Williams that brought us so much joy. I can’t speak for him, but I will choose to believe that this is how he would like to be remembered.
Thanks for the happiness, Robin, whoever you are.
Signing out, Nanu Nanu…