The internet has been awash with tributes, kudos and the achievements of Robin Williams. He has been compared to the ultimate Bob Hope.
For expats, maybe this is not all bad. “Yes,” it is emotional, very emotional that at the young age of 63 the man has died. However, his private life yet remains that of rumors and his public life that of greatness in the art of comedy.
He was able to make us laugh out loud when we had no intention of doing so. He made us forget the sadness of life during his magical performances. Yet, within this man fought a deep, a very deep sadness that afflicts many, including both expats and Costa Ricans. It is called depression and lives on with limited treatment.
Depression takes on many forms and it truly negates the slogan that we are the “Happiest Country in the World.”
We are a a country of challenge, one where we have not a single clue to the direction of the economy, not even what the law, decrees or regulations will be or are. We live in social limbo, but, and this is a big “but,” we tend to survive despite ourselves and ignorance makes us “happy”.
While this country has tried hard to be adopted by the United States, there is just enough opposition to retain our own and valuable sense of nationality.
If you speak Spanish, we have excellent comedians and they thrive on making fun of our culture. Like Robin Williams they are national treasures churned out by local theaters and universities for public performances.
What they all have in common is the ability to forget our woes for a few short hours and make life and each other a little bit better.
Williams concurred that most difficult cross border gift of humor which is super rare among comedians and actors. But, the toll of addictive depression took all that away in a flick of the moment.
He is being heralded as a gentle and generous person, an icon among comics and a tragic realist among addicts of drugs and alcohol. Certainly he was a tragic person in life that rarely let us see inside and because of that, our lives are a little bit better.
I am blood related to another comedian, much older than Robin Williams and he also had his demons that could not be conquered, but few really knew the true character, the anguish and soul of this man. As he once said to me, “You need sadness to manufacture humor, without it there is no laughter.”