Robin Williams: Coward

Comedy legend was found dead in his home Monday morning. Cause of death is reported to be a suspected suicide

I was going to start this by writing “Robin Williams Died Yesterday”, but that’s not headline grabbing. Nor is it really the truth. He didn’t die.

Robin Williams didn’t have a heart attack. He didn’t have stomach cancer. He wasn’t in a plane crash. A car accident. His tour bus didn’t roll off a cliff in Switzerland. He took his own life. The coward’s way out.

When I first saw that he was dead, I cried. I mean, I’m 50. I grew up with the guy. Form Mork And Mindy (What ever happened to Pam Dawber?- and no, I didn’t have to Google her name) to Good Morning Viet Nam and and on. I saw every movie he did. Every Comedic Special. The guy was brilliant. But as much as people will recall his comedic genius, it was the dramatic roles that I really loved. Dead Poets Society was brilliant as was Good Will Hunting, but I loved the dark drama. The Night Listener, Insomnia, One Hour Photo. Brilliant, but in the end a waste.

I’m sorry if I’m not sensitive. I understand, The man had demons. But who doesn’t have demons? Who isn’t feeling like their up- against the wall, or the weight of the world is bearing down on them. I guarantee you the guy that is losing his home, his job, his family; the guy, or girl, who feels so completely alone and helpless; who can’t see anything but the tunnel and no light at the end; the person who’s been abandoned is facing some much harsher demons than an award winning, millionaire “genius”, loved by the world, praised for his work will ever face.

I won’t say “he took the easy way out.” As someone who at one time wished to die, it’s not easy to kill yourself. You don’t just do it with as much thought as you put into starting your car. But still, the guy had more options than 99% of us do.




Days Of Tears

Each year at this time, I repeat a routine I have in honor of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. I don’t watch any programming about that terrible day until after September 10th, and I do that for a reason. On September 10th, I was happy. The world was happy. It may have been the last happiest day I’ve known, outside of when my children were born, since. 

I don’t remember much about September 10, 2010. I know it was a Monday. I worked. I probably spent some time dealing with my Booking and Promoting business. I may have spent time talking to my friends, and family, and i’m sure that night, like every night before, I went to sleep with very few worries on my mind. The next day…. was the worst day I can ever know. 

I’m not from New York City. I’ve never lived there. I had been to New York City many times, but I wasn’t there when the city was attacked, yet in New York, it doesn’t matter what part of New York you’re from. Whether it’s Upstate, Down State, Plattsburg or Binghamton; Chautauqua County or Jefferson County, New Yorkers are bound together. It’s one of those states, like several others where you can meet someone else from New York, and you just know. You just feel the bind. 

This year marks the significant tenth anniversary, and I’ve been watching a series about rebuilding  the 16 acres that were destroyed that day called Rising: Rebuilding New York. Each episode is about the reconstruction of  a different segment of the area known as Ground Zero and the amount of care, and technology and engineering… the thought put into the reconstruction is overwhelming. 

 One episode is about the new Tower One; 1776 feet tall. It’s not just a new tower, but every aspect of it it designed with a purpose. Be it tribute or structural integrity. Another episode is about the new Transit Hub, highlighted by an above ground structure that represents a large, steel spine, with structural ribs at angles, jutting out from the center. The designer took into account the angle of the sun when the first tower was hit and the angle again when the second tower collapsed and designed the piece to echo those angles so that when the sun gets to a certain point, the light shining down creates an aura of a welcoming, great place. 

The trees planted at the Memorial Site are arranged so that if you walk North-South, it’ll resemble walking a random path the to the Waterfalls. East-West is reminiscent of  walking through the aisles in a sacred temple. The waterfalls themselves, are built in the foundations of where the original towers stood. The plumbing work beneath the towers is some of the most impressive ever conceived. The fountains themselves are surround by bronze plates, bearing the names of each person that died here. And not just listed in random order, but thoughtfully arranged so that people who had any type of relationship are cut into the plates near each other. 

 The tower is designed with incredible structural integrity making it one of, if not the strongest building in North America, along with being the tallest. The museum houses remnants of the World Trade Center and the people who died there. The famous tridents that surrounded the towers are some of the more memorable images, and two were salvaged and will be the center pieces of the new museum. Even the glass atrium surrounding the museum was designed with the glass etched to reflect the lines of the original towers, fading as they near the spot of the the tridents so that maximum viewing can be seen, unobstructed from the outside. Even the reflective quality of the glass is designed so that from the outside, your reflection will make you look as though you are inside, standing with the ghosts of the remains of the World Trade Center. Even the placement of the new towers was designed to allow an unfettered beam of light to shine down on the spot of the north tower at the exact moment of the first attack. 

Each night for the last few days, I’ve immersed myself in remembrance of what happened that day. And I’ve spent most of that time in tears. It doesn’t take much; an image of a destroyed fire truck being lowered into the basement of the museum; A parent’s tale of the loss of a child in the attacks; an image of the damage; of someone that died. It rushes back and it takes over my soul and my emotions and I’m transported back to that day. To that minute when evil revealed itself to all of us, and tore a piece of every single American away, never to be recovered. I’ve cried a lot, needless to say, and it’s affected my overall mood, which has been sullen and angry. 

People may ultimately see this as a form of self torment. They may say it’s not necessary. But I believe that this sado-masochistic ritual is very important, because without it, I’m afraid of becoming complacent. I’m afraid that I may start to forget the way I was affected on 9/11, as I, along with the world, stood transfixed by the images of  the horror that was unleashed that morning. And I cannot allow myself to forget. 

The attacks on the World Trade Center, on a city I love, New York, and on my country have affected me in way that nothing else in my life ever has, and I hate it that I had to see that. Nobody should have had to experience what we did that day, and I long for September 10th, 2001, when I was happy.


From September 13, 2011

Tragedy Outside Of Buffalo, NY

I don’t know why I waited so long to post anything on this. The plane crash Thursday night, near Buffalo really hit me hard.
First, it was within a mile of my Mother’s house. Slightly further to my Brother’s.
It’s a neighborhood that I know people in, although I did not know the people in the house that was destroyed in the crash.
Perhaps, it’s the fact that it was close to home that affects me. That people there are so closely knit and that everyone will be affected on some level.
Maybe it’s because I’m not there to grieve with my fellow Buffalonians that makes me feel so empty.
Or that I have driven up and down that road, so many times, that I can picture the houses , the landscape, where that road goes to…

I know that plane only had a few hundred yards to go and it would have been in a corn field, and the irony of that makes me wonder why one house could be pinpointed to be a target for the fiery deaths of so many people, many of whom are very important to their peer groups. I mean above and beyond being family members.

The city is shaken by this, I know. The Buffalo Sabres played the following night, a game that they could have postponed, and turned in a spirited effort in defeating one of the best teams in the NHL, and for a few hours, the city was able to be together, joined by one of Buffalo’s best features: The sense of community our sports teams provides.

I’m sorry for the loss of life there, and I pray that this tragic event can be quickly put behind us as we move forward in our own lives.


From February 15, 2009