From one Sad Clown to another…

Dear Robin Williams,

I didn’t know you, but I wish I did. And in some ways I feel like I did, as many of us do. I was talking with a comedian friend of mine yesterday, and he said, “Those who grew up from the 80’s till now are so shaken, because he was like our Movie Dad”. I think that’s true or feels true at least. You had this enigmatic presence on screen that seemed to transcend the TV or Movie Screen, and come right into our hearts. When I was young I lost a father figure to me. He was my second cousin, but much older. We’d play cards together, monopoly, he was a musician, he was thoughtful, and an impressionist. He would pretend to be “Ronald Regan” and just blankly stare at me for an awkward period of time and then go “Well, hello David…when did you get here?” He was my hero.

I was Nine when he committed suicide.

I didn’t talk for a month.

I eventually did. I’m not going to say I never smiled again. Because I most certainly did, but I think it’s fair to say that since 1990 there has always been a sadness laced within smile. Growing up I was always enamored with “Mork”. I used to run around my living room doing different voices in a fast paced ping-pong fashion because of you. Matter of fact…I still do. But it was when I saw a movie in my youth I knew after its viewing it would be my permanent answer to age old question “What’s your favor movie?”…Dead Poets Society.

Obviously the suicidal elements of the story stuck out to me. Since 1990 I’ve never been able to escape this dark cloud that seems to haunt me. Even since loosing my cousin I found myself down that same similar path- a treacherous forrest of sadness that has always felt both like a prison & a maze. Sadly, I know the feeling of a cold blade against my wrist, the temptation of taking a bath going underneath the water, and not wanting to come up. Staring endlessly at a bottle of pills and a bottle of booze and saying “What If?”… But the message of Dead Poets Society “Carpe Diem—Seize the day boys…make your lives extraordinary” was not just energizing for me, or an encouraging sentimental statement–but it was life.

Another demon that plagued my life: abuse. Through misfits that were in & out of our house growing up dating my mother. If someone asked me what was the worst part? I wouldn’t say it was the men coming home, getting drunk and “teaching me how to fight”, or the drunken yelling matches, but it was…the fear. On many nights I would go to bed and wonder if it would be a night where my mother would come in, wake me up, and we’d have to run outside, hop over the fence, and keep running as fast as we can, till we could find a neighbor who would wake up to our knocks, cry’s, and panic so we could call the police. How I wish cell phone’s were commonplace in my childhood. Needless to say, surviving in those circumstances makes you angry. A bit scrappy. If you’d mess with me, you’d better be ready. After all, you don’t get beat up by violent men, and not learn a thing or two.

But then…I saw a movie called “Good Will Hunting.” Not only am I thanking you here Mr. Williams, but also Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, my directing hero Gus Van Sant, and the Weinsteins for bringing that movie to life. Because that movie was exactly what I needed, because I knew now I wasn’t alone in being a GENIUS. Just kidding:-) I remember sitting in that movie theater with a few of my friends bawling. I remember feeling understood watching that movie, that there was folks out in the world somewhere that “got it.” My pain wasn’t something to hide, it was something to confess. That movie impacted me so much I still remember where I was sitting in the movie theater. I walked out of there, and I knew I would never be the same. I had very good friends in high school, but it wouldn’t be until college that I felt I had that sense of brothers “who would lay down in traffic for you”. When that group of friends came in my life, that movie came to mean even more, as our group really echoed the group in “Good Will Hunting”. For better or worse. We too were riff-raffs, and ragamuffins. A bit of an edge to us, but they taught me the meaning of true friendship.

Your movies, and comedy has almost been a narration of my life in a manner of speaking, and this past Monday the whole world, seemingly, could hear that voice stop. We are heartbroken.

I remember one time watching Ellen, who is also one of the funniest people on the planet, and watching her uncontrollably laugh to the point of tears running down her face, and I thought: Wow, a true Comedian’s comedian. He’s one that the pro’s turn to and go. “I need to take five, make me laugh Robin.” And you succeed every time.

Some people will wonder if there will ever be another Robin Williams. There will not, and why would we want there to be? No matter how close they came, they still wouldn’t be you. You were one of a kind. A meteorite passing through our passage of time. You brought so much life, laughter, and inspiration to our broken world. Thank you.

Yes I’m a wannabe comedic actor, with sights on meaningful dramatic roles, and I’m saddened on thought of never being able to have my dream come true to work with you, not so I could have put that on my resume… as much as I could have had the opportunity to have coffee with you and meet another sad clown.

I’d give you a hug, and I’d ask you for one too.

But I have the faith, that I’ll see you again one day. I look forward to joking with you in heaven. I picture us walking up to the disciples and going, “Seriously guys at the Lord’s Supper you all had to sit on the same side of the table?” And then Leonardo da Vinici walks up and says, “But it was just a painting, it didn’t really happen that way,” And then we’re like, “yeah we know Leo it was just a joke, geese that guy takes everything too seriously. Go invent something already” And then I picture you going on an eternal wild rant, starting with Moses “Hey Moses, you still talking to that burning bush, or did you finally discover Gold Bond”…and off you go making your rounds amongst the heavens brining a smile to everyones face, just like you did on earth, brining joy and love to the famous, and the not so much, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad.

O Captain My Captain I wish you could see me now. I’m standing on my desk. I accept the challenge to seize the day. To make my life extraordinary.

your fellow dead poet,

David Leo Schultz


~ by David Leo Schultz on August 14, 2014.

11 Responses to “From one Sad Clown to another…”

  1. So good. So sad. I’m so sorry you endured days and nights of fear and anxiety. I did too…I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying here, even if I’m a 53 year old retired 1st grade teacher. I got to meet you twice, at screenings for Ragamuffin. You are already a comedic actor. You’re great, DLS. In the movie…you’re funny in so many parts…the one that always makes me laugh is probably not the one that you’d expect…but it’s the way you’re walking, after the old dude in the lobby of the venue for the concert made you fall down. The way you walked, and looked back over your shoulder at the same time. Oh my, there’s a huge smile on my face every time I watch that part. By the way…I’m in Kingston TN. My son Kirby is a fan of Rich and you too…he plays hammered dulcimer like you can’t believe. Today is his bday. He’s 24. If you’re ever in our town, please come over and bring your friends and family. We have a big old house and my husband grills the best cheeseburgers ever.

  2. David, you really hit the mark in my heart by this beautiful blog on our dear Robin Williams….I really haven’t been able to grieve since hearing about this…I guess I’ve been in shock how deeply rooted he was troubled…thank you for putting things in perspective to be able to understand. I read the realness in your words of how he impacted your life. Profound and powerful with sharing your heart’s compassion for the loss of your cousin…you were hit hard and it breaks my heart you had to experience that at such a young age….and everything else that went on after those years.

    But God has been mighty gracious to you and carried you through and around and about to be able to bring to us these words of comfort amidst the loss. You hit on major sensitivities of our human nature and all you’ve had to deal with….gives me a clearer picture of how “Ragamuffin” was birthed and brought to the screen with such loving care and compassion for those who are struggling with the reality of life.

    My Dad was an alcoholic and hence, I married one and it wasn’t til I sought help for myself at 23 yrs of age, did I realize my father was a drunk; but that all got me started on my journey with Christ as I found Him thru Al-Anon. After divorcing my comical hubby, after 7 yrs we remarried but he died from pancreatitis at the young age of 38. Sad but God was gracious and took him out of his torment. and the only music that brought me to a deeper love for God was our Ragamuffin troubador, Rich.

    My Dad left an incredible legacy in my heart with singing and being a bit of a comedienne/clown too and the sense of humor God has, He put me in a job to entertain and humor people with dementia and I love every minute of it.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your heart with all of us here. It’s been pretty devastating to grasp this tragedy but there’s always a reason for everything and God turns things around for good. I too, in faith, hope to see Robin with us in Heaven. I pray for God’s mercy upon his dear widow and his children that they find the love of God through all of this.

    Looking forward to Ragamuffin retreat in PA with Kathy and everyone. So need it to keep me grounded and rooted even deeper with what you guys have in store for us.

    Blessings and Peace of Christ,
    Maureen Salaun

  3. David. Thank u so much for sharing. I have had u always in my heart and pray as God continues to lead u. Always look up you have a family now to carry your name and legacy. Carpe diem. I love you

  4. Awe, David…. beautiful!

  5. Two of my top 5 favorite movies of all time are Good Will Hunting and Dead Poet’s Society, as much as anything because of Robin Williams. I had forgotten that. Thanks so much. I needed this to help me grieve as well.

  6. Reblogged this on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of God and commented:
    It still doesn’t seem real. A world of entertainment without Robin Williams. Thank you, David Leo Schultz, for honoring him today. I don’t know where his soul was with God, but I pray he had at least a moment to seek him.

  7. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt sentiment. Your words are filled with kindness and love, which speaks volumes about your character as well. By the way, truly looking forward to attending the PA Ragamuffin Retreat, this October.

  8. BRILLIANT:-) ♡

  9. Beautiful….thank you David Leo Schultz. We all have our stories, thanks for sharing yours. You are truly awesome, may you feel the love of others in this life, while the love of God holds you closer, and when its your time to go, may it be a great time of laughter and love with Rich, Robin, and Jesus! Many blessings to you {\o/}

  10. Oh, David, my friend, thank you for that! I pray you’re right about him, as you were about all the rest of this lovely posting. Your words spoke straight to my heart. God bless you! ❤

  11. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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