Farewell, My Captain

8/12/14, 6:30 AM. I flip through the newspaper when I saw the news placed with the local obituaries. I didn’t see this coming, but then again, who could? All of my news feeds were filled with condolences. The entire day was cold and gray with some rain showers; it could’ve been a coincidence but I like to think otherwise. 24 hours later, it struck me that watching Aladdin will be more emotional than usual.

I’ve only seen six films with Robin Williams; Aladdin, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Robots, Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting in that order. Out of those, Aladdin and Dead Poets Society stick out the most. I should be more well-versed in his filmography but I haven’t had the time. I’ve heard that some are hit and miss but I’ll find that out for myself.

As a kid watching Aladdin, I saw the Genie as someone who was comedic and just all-around fun. Sure, a lot of references flew over my head but as I grew older and more familiar with pop culture, I began to understand what he’s talking about. I had seen his image the most for a trailer for the third Aladdin movie on one of my tapes.

With regards to Dead Poets Society, I’m certain that it’s required viewing in a high school English class. I ended up seeing it in two separate classes in high school. As a sophomore, it was shown during a poetry unit. To me, it was a guarantee that for the next three or four days, there would be no classwork. I walked away from it under the impression that it was a good film.

Flash forward to senior year. My creative writing class teacher thought it’d be best to put this on as a way to kill time during a poetry unit (odd how similar the circumstances were). The initial reaction was surprisingly positive. This was the first serious movie my peers had looked forward to watching. I’d wish that if we had the chance, we’d stand on the desks if it weren’t for the computer monitors underneath.

In college, I met a guy who collected movie props and autographs with a penchant for Robin Williams. At one point, he obtained one of the facial masks from Mrs. Doubtfire. I’d link the site but it’s no longer active. Right now, it’s probably one of the most, if not the most valuable collectible in his possession. I know for a fact it’s not for sale and probably will never be.

Hearing how he died, the thing that came to my mind is Pink Floyd’s “Keep Talking”. A sample of Stephen Hawking states that “It doesn’t have to be like this. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.” If only. If you need help, seek it. Talking about feelings does a lot more than keeping it to yourself.

I know it’s not much of a tribute but it’s something that I needed to say. Farewell, my captain.

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