Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Robin and Me

I'd like it to start when I was a cub reporter down in Florida. My new wife and I adopted a large footed, hairy comedian who soon took over the house, eating his way through mattresses, jumping out of moving cars and growing into the worst behaved funnyman I could have found at the pound.

But he grew on us, witnessed the birth of our children, moved to Pennsylvania where I noticed him getting older, tripping up on "knock knock" jokes and chasing the rubber chickens we were raising.

Finally, on his last day he and I looked each other deep in the eye and after all the trouble he had caused I finally had to admit that "you're good for a laugh Robin, you really are." Then with one last hand fart he passed on to a better place leaving us all a little richer.

Unfortunately it never happened that way so some publisher is going to go hungry this winter.

It really happened in 1983 when I was coming home from work in the library of a major university who took several thousand dollars from me over the course of a few years and has the audacity to ask me for more. Even today.

I just gave you forty thousand, what'd you do with it?

Walking up the street, I caught sight of another figure keeping pace with me about fifteen feet away. One turn of my head revealed that he was not only keeping pace, he was matching my gait: shoulders hunched, head down, staring straight ahead just trying to get home before the inevitable muggers, chain snatchers or desperate squeegee artists going to work on your eyeglasses for twenty five cents while the damn light flashes "don't walk." Ok, so he wasn't a threat and I got back to being terrified by the next block.

That was the block that held a gaggle of co-eds who began to giggle as we passed them. Since I wasn't field testing iconic costumes I'd later sell to Motley Fool I figured they weren't laughing at me. Just to be sure, I checked. Yep, zipper was up and nobody was humming "Its a Small World." Companion Walker and I got about half a block up the street from the giggling gaggle when one of them stopped giggling just long enough to shout "Hi Robin!"

And I turned to see Robin Williams turn and give a little smile and a wave. We then got back to walking with purpose. Except now I was excited. This was a real life close up celebrity! And I was the only one in real life close proximity! This wasn't like when I spit corn at my date in the Lafayette Diner when Joey Ramone sat four tables away or when I almost put someone's eye out pointing at Gene Shalit in Rockefeller Center. Nor was it like last year when Thumper and I walked past Arnold, yes, that Governor of Kaleeefohrneeeyah! sitting at a traffic light on Rue Dauphin.

Nope, this was Robin Williams and I was going to say something to him?

But what?

Try sophisticated, said the little bunny voice in my head.

"Mr. Williams, I think you're quite a funny fellow and I particularly found your recent role in Garp both poignant and joconde."

To which the bunny voice that sounded a lot like Robin Williams said:

"Thanks, you pretentious asshole."

Try comraderie:

"Yo Robin. You know I'm pretty funny myself?"

"So tell the nice arresting officer a joke."

"Hi Robin!"

"Hey Robin!"

"Cool, you're Robin Williams."

"Fuck, there goes my claim to the throne. Thanks for breaking through the invisible wall of my latest delusional fantasy. Say, didn't I just see you in the library?"

Then the bunny voice stopped sounding like Robin answering me and me making pat and stupid suggestions and started to point out that it was November, it was late and cold and I was tired. Would I like to go home, or would I like to stop and make conversation with a stranger on a wind-blown street corner?

Uh-huh, neither would Robin Williams.

So off he went and I turned one of the next corners to go home and that was that.

I told this story to a friend years later. He thought it was funny and relayed that he was visiting his daughter in college and having dinner in the student union. Robin Williams had just finished filming some location work for "Patch Adams" and was serving dinner in the cafeteria.

So for all my close ups to Robin, I got trumped right away. Fine. Fine.

Just remember Robin, if you happen to read this, I'm the guy that left you blissfully alone one night. I didn't ask you for anything. Not even the meatloaf special.

So, if you want to return the favor, could you see if Natalie Portman wants to meet for coffee and we can reminisce about her Supreme Court internship?

Huh?

Figures.

Bunny on.

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