Carpe Diem

Dead Poets Society

Whoo-eee, friends, has this blog post been a roller coaster. I started off with a gentle, wistful idea of trying to explain how I feel about Boston right this very moment, and then, before I could type one character, my facebook feed exploded in a mournful wail at the news that Robin Williams has left us.

It was a howl of grief from me and everyone in my generation, give or take a few decades. Some grew up on Mork & Mindy;  I don’t remember it, but my grandma loved it – she named the ducks that hung out at her house after it. For me, Robin Williams was the Genie; that dazzling, just-on-the-edge of sanity performance that defined animation in my time. He was Mr. Keating, blowing my mind with quotes from Whitman and the New England literary greats , teaching a generation of would-be poets like me to seize every. single. f-ing. day. He was my go to golf video (bad language alert). I loved Hook. And Good Will Hunting. And Mrs. Doubtire. And The Birdcage. And oh gosh, how could we forget Good Morning Vietnam!?

I got to see him live on Broadway.

I remember reading an interview about him once, where the author alluded to the fact that Robin Williams was at his best, comedically, when he was at his most manic. I remember thinking that was awful, and wondering how long he could maintain such ups and downs. I guess we know the answer now.

So, in my usual “I can connect anything to anything” style, here’s how this fits with my thoughts on Boston.

I grew up in New England, and unlike most, my family worked our assess off in the summer at our tourist-driven business. I don’t remember really experiencing summer in New England. I remember having it, but mostly I remember waking at 6am to start a 6:30 shift and coming home smelling like the deli.  Maybe I’m getting older and more sentimental – I’m sure of that, actually – but this first Boston summer feels…precious somehow. Like all around me, everyone is squeezing every last drop of sunny, breezy, low-humidity goodness we can out of each day. I find myself lingering on the patio in the morning as I let the dog out, not wanting to go back inside; Sadie has to be cajoled to come back in the house. Everyone is picnicking, walking, running, beaching, and hiking as if time for such things is limited, and I suppose it is.

It wasn’t until I heard the news of Robin Williams that I realized it’s all about two words: Carpe Diem. Because life is short. Sometimes far, far too much so.

RIP, Mr. Williams. I hope that you made God laugh at the pearly gates. In fact, I’m sure you did. I hope every day up there is the equivalent of a beautiful Boston summer day.

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