Robin Williams Got Us Thinking

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I don’t know when I first heard that, but it was many decades ago.

From time to time, we are reminded of its truth.

I begin with an example of poor timing. KISS lead performer Gene Simmons, on July 31, gave an interview. This part was picked up by the media on August 1.

I don’t get along with anybody who’s a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: “The world is a harsh place.” My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear **** all about “the world as a harsh place.” She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, “I’m depressed, I live in Seattle.” **** you, then kill yourself.I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says ‘Jump!’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump.” Medication Madness: Th... Peter R. Breggin M.D. Best Price: $5.50 Buy New $12.95 (as of 07:00 EST - Details)

Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the **** up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.

By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, “I’m going to blow your ****in’ head off!” He’ll go, “Please don’t!” It’s true. He’s not that insane.

People are different. This is a fundamental premise of libertarianism. Simmons is a libertarian. He has neglected the principle of differentiation. What does not overcome one person can debilitate another.

The world was shocked at what happened to Williams. I had no idea that he was this well respected worldwide. Literally all over the English-speaking world, the news of his death spread.

Like almost everybody else, I regarded Williams as the funniest man per minute I had ever seen. There was only one person I ever saw who came close: Jonathan Winters. The two were close friends. Williams acknowledged Winters as his model.

Winters also suffered greatly from psychological problems. But he never lost his sense of humor, not even at the bottom.

At the height of his success, in his early 30s, Jonathan Winters voluntarily committed himself to a private psychiatric hospital.”At that time they didn’t have a label for me. I said, ‘What the devil, I know I’m not schizophrenic; I’m not catatonic,” Winters remembers.

So he asked for a diagnosis. He repeats the doctor’s answer in a coy tone: “It would only upset you.” Winters replied, “I’ll tell you what’s upsetting me is the cost of this place.”

Now he knows his diagnosis was bipolar disorder, but there were no effective medications for it back then. Winters says he declined the electroshock treatment that doctors said would erase some of the pain he was feeling.

“I need that pain — whatever it is — to call upon it from time to time, no matter how bad it was,” he says.

He recalls joking pointedly with his doctor about keeping in touch with the demolition experts he’d served with in World War II.

“I have contact with them,” he’d solemnly say.

The doctor, puzzled, would ask, “What’s the story?”

“They would visit you,” Winters would say, again solemnly.

“They would visit me?” The doctor would ask, still puzzled.

Then, the kicker: “Yeah, there’d be just the one visit.”

It sounds like the kind of joke that might prolong your stay in an institution. Winters left the hospital after eight months.
Somewhere, deep within a troubled personality, he came up with the funniest unscripted routines that anyone had ever seen until Williams showed up.

Winters was able to overcome the dark forces in his life. Williams was not.

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