There are a lot of great articles and blogs about Robin Williams all over the internet. I wondered whether I should write something, after all, I never met the man and a number of people have eloquently described his impact as an actor and a comedian. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he made me think.
I’m a miniature wargamer. I have shelves in my house filled with what my wife refers to as “little guys.” They range from Greek hoplites to Space Marines from the grim darkness of the far future. I own robots and dragons, plus a few castles and landing pads in 25-30mm scale. I even have 15mm tanks and smaller scale sailing ships, plus a few starships. As a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons, and later as a young man doing wargames, I’ve always fallen into the categories of “nerd” and “geek” and such, although I was almost “tragically hip” when I was writing about vampires.
The point is that I and most of my friends with the same interests were weird. When I felt discouraged or overly teased, I wanted someone famous or important who played these games, someone successful.
That person was Robin Williams. He collected toy soldiers and miniatures as an adult. He was the guy.
When I worked at Games Workshop, we all knew that Robin Williams had a collection of toy soldiers to rival the greatest among us. He was at the top of the list of people that you’d love a chance to play a game with. We all could imagine his eyes sparkling with that inner child and how he’d lovingly describe his collection – the same way that we described ours. We might be weird, but someone wonderful was weird too.
We felt that he was one of us. I felt that he was a little like me. I always wanted to talk with him about toys. I like to think that he taught me that it’s okay to be strange and even silly. My daughter loves the different voices I do for bedtime stories and the absolute bizarre combinations of stuff that we come up with. Robin helped me find all of that.
Depression is a terrible horrible disease. Some dear friends of mine have suffered through it, and it isn’t something that is easily overcome. The good that may come out of this is more attention to depression. I hope lives will be saved, but I’m so sorry for Robin and his family.
Thank you, Robin Williams.