Robin Williams died two years ago today.
I dug (and I mean dug because Facebook is a shitpile when it comes to locating anything) for the post I wrote that day and re-read it. It was heartfelt, but it was also full of assumptions about him and misconceptions about my life.
We know now that he had been suffering from a terrifying degenerative neurological disorder. He killed himself, was forced to brutally kill himself, because euthanasia isn’t a thing around here. Maybe it should be.
I didn’t know him, and I’m not a doctor, but I assume that he didn’t want to die any more than the people who leaped from the World Trade Center. For him, there was nowhere else to go but out.
David Foster Wallace put it better than I did when he described suicide and the will to live. He reasoned that no one really wants to die, but the encroaching flames seem too much. When it’s the inferno or the window, people often take the window. Rest assured they know they can’t fly.
David couldn’t fly, either.
On that note I want everyone to know that I’m okay. I said some things about myself that day and they weren’t completely accurate. I wasn’t lying, but I was confused and distressed. I did eventually talk to a professional about it, and while it wasn’t under the best of circumstances, we finally realized that most of the bullshit I’ve called dire was a combination of situational depression and poor coping skills. Not all of it, but most.
Welcome to the Land of Consequences, right over the Bridge of Bad Fucking Decisions.
While I’m at it, I need to clear up something else. I was (am, always will be) in mourning for my father and I tried to tie him into all that somehow, as if depression were slaughtering us all. Dad. Robin. Me. How’s that for a narrative?
Thing is, Dad wasn’t a depressed guy. I’m not sure he even understood what that was. He was a functioning alcoholic who had a bad interaction* with prescription medication and it took years for the aftereffects to kill him. That’s it. I don’t get to hammer events into a pretty box so I can make my world seem orderly and tug people’s dopamine strings.
Robin was in a horrifying situation, Dad made a mistake, and I’m “Howlin’Mad” Bob Talbot with clinically diagnosed Assholery (call it dysthymia complicated by being a Massive Jerk if you need something to put on your chart), but I’ll be fine. I love my wife and my family and I’m not going anywhere until I’m dragged kicking and screaming.
Guys, I’m over drawing conclusions, because there aren’t any. You live, you die, and maybe you learn in between. I’m still learning, so bear with me. Today I’ve learned that I can’t make things make sense. It would be quite convenient for something other than Hook to tie us all together.
That’s it, though. The Hook brings us back (I ain’t tellin’ you no lie). Hook, Robin, Dad, a theater, and us. That was enough. I shouldn’t have tried to make it more, but I didn’t know enough then to do it any differently. Now I do.
*Note: I originally wrote accidental overdose here but I’ve changed it after some reflection. It was accidental. Alcohol and high blood pressure/cholesterol medication do not mix, but the word “overdose” implies that he swallowed the wrong dosage. This is not the case. He took the amount he was prescribed and he continued his daily routine of drinking in the evening. This is what ultimately landed him in the hospital. It is also important to note that from that day in late 2008 to his last day, on February 23, 2011, he did not touch a drink. He was serious about living. So am I.