Monday, August 11, 2014

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams

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 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.

Barking Alien


  1. Beautifully written, what a great memory of a great person. “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

    Mr.Williams, you filled our hearts with laughter, you made us feel pure joy....thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Ali. And thank you for coming here to say that. It's nice to have friends visit me here on my blog who I know outside of gaming.


  2. So much of what I have read about him reminds me of the joke I heard once (in a comic book, I'm sure) that was about the man who went to a therapist complaining of severe depression. The therapist said, "you're in luck--the great clown Pagliacci is in town. He's the funniest man ever, You could go see him and I'll guarantee you'll feel better."
    The man began to sob uncontrollably and the therapist asked him what was wrong. "You don't understand!" the man said, " I am Pagliacci!"

    1. I know that one. Perfect Rob. Very appropriate.

    2. It's from Watchmen, I think. Part of Rorshach's narration.

  3. Great story, B.A. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm here for every post. I just don't comment very often. :)

      As you'll note from the official reports, Robin died in Tiburon, which is in Marin County. I was born in Marin County and as a very young kid back in the 1970's, I remember many little day-trips to Tiburon with my mom and grandma.

      Way back in the early 1960's, my parents went to a performance of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" at a local community college in Marin County (I forget which one). The program notes that the part of Snoopy was played by "Robin Williams." I totally remember finding the program at my parents' house when I was in Junior High School - my mom had tucked it inside the record sleeve of an LP of Vince Guaraldi "Charlie Brown" music.


    2. Wow.

      That is a fantastic story Martin. Amazing in fact. It combines two of my favorite things, Robin Williams and Snoopy.

      Thank you so much for that. And for checking out the blog regularly. I really appreciate it.