Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

Dear Mr. Williams,

I didn't know you, and as such, I feel somewhat presumptuous to be writing to you, but somehow, I don't think you would mind.

I watched Good Will Hunting for the first time a couple days before hearing of your passing, and I'm pretty sure it will forever be one of my favorites.  Dead Poets Society is playing on my laptop in the background as I type this.  Aladdin was one of the movies of my childhood, and the Genie was always my favorite.  If you need me, I'll be watching these movies on loop and sobbing until I feel better.

Mr. Williams, I wanted so badly to believe that you were happy.  You certainly made me laugh, along with the rest of America, and the world.  Your words in your more dramatic roles both broke my heart and put it back together.  Thank you for that.

Sir, I am aware that the Bostonian psychiatrist who whispered "It's not your fault," to a distraught teenager was not truly you.  However, as my high school acting teacher used to tell us, "when creating a role, we start with ourselves".  So while I know that wasn't you, teaching me that life can't be lived by reading books and that sometimes you just have to go see about a girl, I like to think that some of that compassion and fire actually were yours, coupled with the depression which I now realize certainly was.

I know that you weren't actually a free thinking English teacher at a strict prep school, reminding young men to live life to the fullest and to use language to woo women, but I like to believe that some of that passionate, carpe diem spirit was a part of your life.

I hope you had the Genie's humor and love.

I am sorry beyond words to learn about the demons which haunted you and finally brought you home.  But I know you helped people.  Thanks for making me think.  Thanks for brightening the lives of troops in Afghanistan, Koko the gorilla, the sweet children in St. Jude's Hospital, and countless others.

God bless your soul.  Sleep well.

Genie, you're free.

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