Inside we are all the same.  It’s the circumstances around us that make us “different” from one another.

Here in The New Yorker is an interview with Penny Marshall in rememberance of Robin Williams.  Penny Marshall, who is Hollywood royalty in her own right shares anecdotes about her and other big name showbiz type’s interactions with Robin Williams.  They are referred to as “The Old Gang”.  It interested me because they all sound like regular people, like the old gang you were part of in high school or college or wherever.  And I think that is because somewhere inside they are all just regular people.  Certainly people with their own problems – that’s what make them regular.  They  just can’t hang out in public like Regular Joes because regular joes like us would fall all over them.  So I can see how their fame could be more of a curse than a blessing.

Robin Williams was arguably one of the best known and universally loved personalities in the world.  By all accounts he seemed a devoted family man who loved his kids.  Yet like any regular joe, he sometimes had to take on jobs he didn’t like just for the paycheck.  Like many regular joes he found happiness to be fleeting and elusive.  And ultimately like too many regular joes his problems became too much for him to face.  It wasn’t his fault that no matter how much money you make, you can still have money problems.  It wasn’t his fault that no matter how many people love you, you can still feel alone.  When millions love you and want you to love them back, you’re saddled with an obligation that is impossible to fulfill – it must be an enormous drain.  Perhaps we loved him to death?

I don’t like to think that he solved his problems with suicide.  Life’s messy, so we clean it up by…ending it?  No.  I think he made a mistake.  But that’s one man’s meaningless opinion.  I just pray for his family to find some peace.

Hat Tip:  Althouse

PS – Penny Marshall anecdote:  In the summer of 2001 I was in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Port Charlotte, Florida on my cell phone while my party had gone inside to be seated.  A big black limousine pulled into the parking lot.  A chauffeur got out, opened the door and a well dressed woman exited.  The woman and the driver walked into the restaurant and I recognized the woman as Penny Marshall.  When I finished my call and went inside, I looked around but didn’t see the woman or her driver anywhere.  I asked my party if they saw Penny Marshall come in, but no one had.  So I can only assume that all Cracker Barrel restaurants have secret VIP backrooms.  Ms. Marshall, can you confirm?  Though I am often suspected of being hallucinatory, so there is that possibility.