On time, I sabotaged an entire mission to see Robin Williams live. We were on a mounted patrol from Imam Ali Air Base all the way to Joint Base Balad. It’s about 300 miles, and takes 18 hours if you don’t run into any problems. Halfway through, we had to stop and refuel in Camp Liberty. While we were there, we found out Robin Williams was putting on a free show that night.
My gunner and I went back to our truck, and blew as many fuses as we could. We convinced another crew to do the same, and when it was time to roll out… oops. Two trucks are down and nobody knows why. Long story short, we got to URON in Camp Liberty. That’s an “Unscheduled Remain Over Night,” while the mechanics tried to figure out what was wrong with our trucks.
He was hilarious. It was nothing but adults, so the Disney-rated jokes were out the window, and it was amazing adult humor. He gave an amazing show, and afterwards even hung out with everyone, shaking hands and giving hugs, and drinking non-alcoholic beer. I’ll never forget his closing remarks, though. At the end of the show, he turned a joke into a serious moment to talk about suicide. A lot of soldiers had been killing themselves recently, so he reached out, encouraging people to not be ashamed if they were sad.
He said that he knows everyone sees him as a clown, but clowns just paint smiles over their frowns. He said that sometimes, even the best smiles can’t hide the painted tears, and there’s no shame in trying to hide your sadness. He really understood what it felt like to carry depression, and now it makes more sense.
I haven’t thought about Robin Williams in years. Now, selfishly, and too late… I wish I had. He was a great man who genuinely just wanted to save people from sadness.