In Which Robin Williams Is My Spirit Animal…

So the other day when I was chest deep in a manic episode I had never experienced before, I had been watching “Good Morning Vietnam.” I was never really allowed to see the movie as a kid. Now I understand why my parents chose to keep me from it.

My wife had asked me to pick up a red wine. She needed Chianti because of the left over Italian food she was planning on eating. There was no Chianti in the store I went to, so I went to the wall of red wine blends. I had a heyday with the names and imagery on the labels of each blend. In fact, it felt like I was channeling Robin Williams while I stood there.

Now I love cracking jokes. Many people might think they’re stupid jokes, but I still love cracking them. This day, standing in front of the red wine blends, I was firing them off non-stop, much like Robin Williams would likely do. My wife told me when I got home “it’s just because you were watching the movie.” Funny thing is, I haven’t stood up and identified every time I’ve done something like that.

I was up at half past four this morning. (Yes, these meds have been screwing with my sleep.) Since we are mid-Christmas lag on shows that are on the DVR, I still had “Good Morning Vietnam” on there to watch.

Back to my title…

“Robin Williams is my spirit animal…”

It may or may not be Robin Williams. It maybe the character he portrayed in this movie, Adrian Cronauer (which I only just now learned when double-checking the spelling that Adrian was a real person). But either way, the performance spoke to me. All he wanted to do in this movie was make people happy (seems like that was Robin Williams’ life work as well). When Cronauer was reinstated on the air, he didn’t want to go. But when given a chance to make soldiers smile and laugh again, he realized he wanted to be back on the air. There’s nothing he enjoyed more than making others smile.

I’ll be honest. After the scene where Cronauer was doing impromptu stand-up for the soldiers about to ship out to the front, I cried. I cried because Cronauer realized the importance of what he was doing. I cried because he finally got that their laughter made him feel good.

This is even a revelation for me because of a job I applied for yesterday. It was for a creative manager to work with a design team. It asked for five years design experience. I’ve not had design jobs. But I have had jobs where I’ve done design as part of my work. But what the main part of the job description was that spoke to me was the mentoring and developing of the design team as people, in addition to driving the project work that the team does.

I never have had aspirations of being famous. I don’t want that kind of attention. But what I do want is to be known for helping develop someone who has become famous. It does my heart good to know I had a hand somewhere along the line in turning them in to what they want to be.


Also published on Medium.

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