Ok, so you clicked and expected a video blog, I know. But this seemed too important to leave to a cumbersome, half tired me explaining what this one particular person’s loss means to me. I just felt like putting into a few words what it feels to have lost such a great comedic, dramatic, wonderful actor in Robin Williams.
As a kid, I marveled how funny he was, even if I didn’t understand all the jokes, in Mork and Mindy. As I got older and saw some of his stand-up on HBO and other outlets, I was amazed at his true comedy chops, timing, and endless wit. I was truly dazzled by his performances in movies like Hook, or Bicentennial Man, One Hour Photo, Popeye, and countless others. And Williams performance and strong movie in that which is Good Will Hunting is one of the reasons I was drawn to move to Boston and reacquaint myself with family there, and even met the future Mrs. Perkle47.
But it was one day while working at FAO Schwarz in Boston that I will never forget in 1998, possibly the highlight of my entire time there (aside from meeting said future Mrs. Perkel47 of course…). I was working in the LEGO/Playmobil section that day when an unassuming couple came up. I struck up a conversation and was telling them all about the cool new LEGO set that had just come out that year, one of the first LEGO Robotics Mindstorm sets. We talk a few minutes more, and the wife, who had done most of the talking, turned to her husband and said “It’s $200, is it worth it you think?” The husband turned to me, beard and all, and asked me “What do you think?” As I told him cool I thoought the set was, the voice I recognized finally….it was Robin Williams. THE Robin Williams. Of course store policy at the time was to get a personal shopper for any celebrities that came in, but I continue to sell a little longer, stretched out the talk a little longer, but never treating him any different than a normal person.
Afterwards, they walked away, and looked a little more, but I could tell other customers were realizing who it was too. I went right to the Personal Shoppers office, and got the manager, a Miss J. Picard at the time (yes, I had a female ‘Captain’ Picard there ha!) who went right to Robin and continued to help him out as they started to get a small crowd.
I watched as they shopped a little longer, but as they checked out I saw them buy only one thing…the LEGO Mindstorms set I had shown them earlier.
It may have only been a sale to some, but to me, it was a chance in a lifetime to just have a friendly talk – no pressure, no red tape – with one of the coolest and most serene guys I have ever met.
So yeah, from that day on I would joke that Robin and I were best friends, always, and we were tight. Well, I still say we are…and I for one will miss the joy he brought to the world.
From Hook: Peter Banning (Robin Williams): “To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.”