No clever title. No flowery prose. Honestly people, I am at a loss.
Actor, comedian, father, husband, inspiration and so much more, Robin Williams, dead at the age of 63.
In my early twenties I worked for the Forbidden Planet, a store catering to all manner of fandom, with everything from Science Fiction & Fantasy novels, to RPGs, to comic books and Japanese robot toys. I was at the Uptown location for four years until it finally closed in 1992 or 93.
Robin Williams used to come in every time he was in New York, and I helped him out when it came to finding the right Transformer for his son, die-cast metal robot for himself, or, on one occasion, the latest Warhammer item for his friend Robert 'Bobcat' Goldthwait.
Once, I was working the cash register, when I had some difficulty with a woman's credit card. The company wouldn't approve the transaction, so I called them and they had me ask her all kinds of questions. This was long before the type of credit card systems we use today. She was very embarrassed and a little frustrated, so I decided to lighten the mood with a little humor.
"They have me on hold (which they did) but they will also need a DNA sample and your great, great grandmother's maiden name."
She looked at me puzzled for a moment.
The next person on the line said, "And your first born. And next of kin."
She started to laugh.
I looked at the person who had spoken, and said with a shrug, "Retina scan?" He nodded. "Yes, we could use a retina scan," I said.
Now she was really laughing. As I attended to the credit card company who had come back on the phone the customer finally turned to the person behind her to thank them for being so patient. She shouted with a start.
"Oh my god! You're...you're Robin Williams."
"Yes", he said, "but we still need that scan."
One of several great stories, one of many great memories.
Even if you are not as big a fan of his as I am know this, today we have lost one of our own. A fellow fan and gamer geek.
Good night Mr. Williams. Thank you for the laughter. Godspeed.