Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I wasn't going to write about Robin Williams

. . . because I did so already, angrily, because waste makes me angry, as does grief . . . because I wrote something last night that was so off-the-wall and extreme that I deleted it this morning. . . because I have some sort of medical thing that has me in extreme and excruciating pain in waves, so I tell myself, soon be over. . . soon be over. . . 

I had a thought. Everyone's having thoughts about these things now, because there it is, out in the open. It isn't just his endless need or requirement to be entertaining every second. It was the sheer volume of work, the movies, so many of them classics, back to back to back - WHO could maintain that level of intensity and not crack and drain out the bottom? That last photo of him was horrifying. He stood in the Dairy Queen, his face grey, probably twenty or thirty pounds underweight. There was no expression on his face. The staff in the Dairy Queen did not recognize him. What happened?

No one uses the term "burnout" any more. It's an expression that was popular oh, some time in the '80s, was it? It means - well, I don't need to explain what it means, do I? Frazzled wires, blown fuses, so much energy forced through the system, so far beyond its carrying capacity, that one day the whole thing blows up or melts down.

He was simply done. Or thought he was. The vessel was empty. I remember a line from Bob Dylan: "as you stare into the vacuum of his eyes". He was in the minuses now, so tapped out that you could see through him. He could walk through walls and haunt people before he was even dead.

Several times since the news, I've flipped into a frilly and frizzled state that I recognize all too well, the gaiety of grief, a mini-mania that can actually be quite enjoyable. Except that it isn't, and just under it is an exhaustion so profound that you can't begin to describe it. Times a million, and maybe you've got his plight. No one could do what he did, and then, at the very end, he couldn't either.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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