“I said to him afterward, ‘Hey, are you O.K.?’ And he said something like, ‘It’s no fun getting old. And I am so (freaking) old.’ But he said it in one of his funny voices, like he was some ancient old guy. Like it was a joke.” –A story told by an unnamed colleague on the set of Robin Williams’ television series “The Crazy Ones.” During a break in the shooting, Williams had gone off and sat by himself. He looked exhausted and sad.
It’s no joke, this business of getting old.
The August 25, 2014 issue of TIME devotes the last half-dozen pages to the life and art of Robin Williams, the comic genius who ended his own life last week.
I thought when I first heard the news and before reading anything about his chronic depression and repeated addictions that he feared getting old and decided to abort that process. Nothing I’ve read or heard since has changed that opinion.
No one should interpret any of this as my attempt to psychoanalyze Mr. Williams. Obviously, his situation–the circumstances that led him to make the decision to end his life on his own terms–was complicated by a thousand factors, as would be true of any of the rest of us. Someone said he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s.
I understand about the fear of getting old.