In my travels – between New York, San Francisco, Napa and Marin County – Robin Williams and I crossed paths several times between 1986 and 2000. We were both involved with several nonprofit charities in Marin – so he was actually a frequent special guest at events that I worked on in one way or another over the years.
Oddly, in 1994, I even spent my wedding night in his “home away from home” – the B & B where he stayed when he visited San Francisco and did not yet have a home there (1818 California Street.)
Once, when I was chatting with him at a charity event in 1996, I asked for his advice (I was actually working on my—very short lived—stand-up comedy career at that time, but that’s another story!) A recent gig I had done at the time was 75% awesome (lots of laughs/ great audience response) and 25% a flop (some of the jokes just fell flat.)
I asked Robin,”How do you do it? How do you overcome the stage fright? The fear and the criticism is paralyzing sometimes.” His response: “… the trick is… just keep trying. Never give up. You can do whatever you set your mind to.” [I think -if I remember correctly- at that point he may have also mentioned the timeless-but-still-amusing cliché advice of “picturing the audience in their underwear”!]
Now – on the current—very different—leg of my 44-year long journey (my time on this planet- already marked by so many unexpected twists and turns) – I think back to that conversation and draw strength from that simple advice; in your memory, (and in this new context) I will keep trying, Robin. Thank you. We’ll miss you.
The clip below was shared with me tonight and, as a cyclist/bike advocate (we’ve been a car-free family in Portland for most of our twelve years here), I really enjoyed it, and wanted to share it with our readers. The conversation about substance abuse (also in the clip) is especially poignant in retrospect and in the context of what we do here at Lead Safe America.
One thing to remember about lead poisoning is that many lead-poisoned children grow up “self-medicating” and struggling with addiction and depression. So while this may seem, somewhat off topic here on our site… I think it is, in a real way, very relevant in the greater context of things.
In the following clip from the Daily Show, Robin Williams talks about riding bikes and battling substance abuse.