Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12 Day 12

Well. thanks to no facebook, I didn't have to read a thousand posts about Robin Williams.  I've watched Robin Williams for most of my life. When you get older, you can actually use phrases like that and mean it. Not being on Facebook, I also don't have to pretend to be part of the big wave of shock and sadness. If you'd actually paid attention to Robin Williams in interviews, it was pretty obvious that he was a bright guy with some serious problems.  First, please realize this is my blog right now and I say what I think. It isn't going to be popular, but it is my opinion. I'm an incredible realist. I know that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I'd think that would be an atheists biggest defense.  So I am going to spit it out right here. I never found Robin Williams funny. I don't think I laughed at one thing he ever did. The only times I thought his entertainment value was worth my time and money was when he did a dramatic role.  I thought Good Will Hunting was one of the hokiest movies ever made. Same for Dead Poets Society.   But Good Morning Viet Nam, Mrs Doubtfire, and One Hour Photo were really good- and he was really good in them. 

I have been blessed (and I sincerely mean that) with a brain that doesn't have an ounce of depression. It doesn't mean I don't get sad, or have times when I would rather stay home, or wonder about what the hell is wrong with people. What it means is that I don't understand not being able to cry, wipe away the tears, then go back out into the world. In fact, I think those moments are really good for me because when I get past them, I look out at the world and marvel at my good fortune. I recover. Quickly. Being brutally sad is a miserable way to live. And being so sad that the only way out is to feel that a self-imposed death sentence will fix it, well- I have no gene for that.  It is easy to feel that you'd be better off in another world or in nothing but an abyss- but a normal brain has, at its core, a survival instinct.  From the time we are conceived, there is a relentless drive to live and grow up to reproduce and then to stay alive to keep things safe for our offspring.  Depression seems to hit the pause button on most of that.    I am sorry for Robin Williams. I am sorry for his family. I am actually sorry for all of the people who identified with him. It is a dangerous time for other depressed people. They'd have to feel more hopeless knowing that a man with so much adulation and treatment modalities couldn't get enough help to save himself. Celebrity is an odd thing- people feel like they KNOW someone they've never met, and they are shocked when they find out they were only watching an image or a tightly crafted and controlled performance for the public. Watching him was nerve wracking- he appeared manic and unhappy, like a person who wanted to run but couldn't.  Even his smile was off. It wasn't an insincere smile as much as it made me feel that he was really trying to smile and not succeeding.  Maybe I saw him too many times when he was on cocaine or hammered. But the people around him even said 'I never really knew him'. That sounds about right. I never felt like I knew a thing about him.  When he got too close to being himself, he'd run into that manic part of his brain that everyone else thought was so funny and "genius".  It has to be a terrible way to live.

Though there are new drugs and treatments, it is obvious that Robin Williams did not have faith in that outcome. "Death by asphyxiation" covers everything from hanging to CO  poisoning and just plain taping a plastic bag over your head.  It is, in fact, very hard to kill yourself in those ways- because it involves time to change your mind, to let your instinct to live take over and fight. In order to do those things, it takes great determination. (update- they just announced it was hanging. What a terrible thing for your family to see.)

I believe I've mentioned this before that in my adoptive family, I have had two cousins commit suicide. The first was my cousin Daria, who shot herself in her twenties even knowing her younger sister would find her that way. I never heard why that  happened. I wish I had known she was that depressed. No one told me how she was until it was over. Daria was one of my favorite cousins- and now, I can barely remember her face.  My other cousin, Danny,(not Daria's brother but same side of the family)  jumped off the ferry into the Mississippi River. He'd tried a few times. One time I was  his ICU nurse when he was in the hospital. It was the most time I'd ever spent with him. (I doubt that is a breach of confidentiality since everyone in the family knew). He was so beautiful and feminine looking that the others nurses asked me if he was gay- he was in a coma with a breathing tube and about 3 iv's and a catheter, and they still could see enough of him to know that he was a beautiful, gay young man. He carried that inner turmoil (decades ago) with him- no gay pride parade for him.  He lived in a city that tolerated and in fact, generally thought nothing was that unusual about gay men. That wasn't enough. Maybe I'm wrong- maybe he had a broken heart. I'll never know now. Overdosing just isn't the best way. But I figured he, like everyone in New Orleans,  knew the Mississippi River never lets go, so he drove onto the ferry and then he disappeared.  Forever. When John Goodman's character in Treme did that, my poor husband had to watch me gasp and then cry. Beautiful Danny did his homework. The flow rate near the port of New Orleans is  the equivalent of 166 semi-trailers of water each second- you can't swim out of that.  There has never been a funeral. It's hard to bury someone you can't find and harder to let go of a person you didn't see die. At least Robin Williams left himself where he could be found.

So, here on Day 12, I am grateful not to be on Facebook and not to be using Twitter. If there is anything more obnoxious than reposting some naanoo naanoo crap as comic brilliance (remember, my opinion), it is summing up your feelings in 140 characters. It makes the famous and the rest of us as humans look trite and insincere and sometimes, arrogant and bossy.

So forgive me (or not) for not crying over someone who at least lived for 63 years (no matter how much he tortured himself with drugs and alcohol) and made money hand over fist for not being all that funny (to me). But since the internet has brought me into the world of a 6 year old Jenice Wright, whose little body was found in a WA state trailer park a couple of days ago- murdered by a 17 year old boy, and that a rescue helicopter went down in Iraq killing everyone on board, and that people died everywhere yesterday and today of everything from Ebola to falls off of a step ladder, well, that just doesn't give me a whole lot of emotion left to share with Robin Williams.  I'll bet most of those people would have traded anything to get to 63.  So I guess I'll put it where it needs to be for me- in perspective. 

Company is coming to see us. Our favorite little Ohio based Seahawk fan, his little Seahawk cheerleader sister and their fabulous parents will show up soon. Time to go concentrate on making our home look like less of a dorm room.

Instead of pictures today, since I know that most people have lost loved ones, I leave anyone reading this blog with a Bible verse that is my favorite because of its message of hope and love. And even if you don't care about religion- it is a lovely sentiment.

Numbers 6:24-26  King James Version

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

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