My Mom died 6 months ago Sunday. She had a disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), which is a neurodegenerative disorder in the same family as ALS, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s. MSA takes your life over the course of 9 to 10 years, beginning with the progressive & frustrating loss of basic motor skills, eventual confinement to bed, and finally, when all dignity and hope are but distant memories, death. There is no remission from the disease. There is currently no cure. Nor are there are treatments to delay the progress of neurodegeneration in the brain. My mom was 60 years old, and didn’t have a gray hair on her head or a wrinkle on her face when we buried her. She hadn’t felt the sun on her skin in over a year.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, while silly at face value, is also doing a lot of good by raising money for ALS. As of this writing, $31.5 Million has been raised and will go towards research to figure out these cruel diseases that leave loved ones feeling helpless & impotent. So while I’m not going to post a video (I’m not that popular and there is, after all, a drought in California), I encourage you to consider donating regardless. Or if you don’t have any money, read up on ALS, MSA, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s, because knowledge is power, and you absorbing what families across the world are going through is important to your own humanity.
Every step towards understanding ALS is a step towards understanding MSA. I want to know my enemy, because then someday there will be a way to beat it.
Since the news broke, my entire newsfeed has been filled with personal stories from people like Dana Gould & Paul F Tompkins all the way down to first timers that met him once at an open mic… I’m blown away & humbled by that. Robin Williams was a man who didn’t care who you were, what clique you were in, what your credits were, what made you “cool”… none of the bullshit that we tend to let ourselves get caught up in all too much in the competition that is this industry. He cared about you, plain and simple, for the fleeting time you were gifted with his presence. He was sweet and empathetic to EVERYONE he came into contact with, across the board, no matter who you were, and that is so beautiful and so rare.
We could all take a lesson from that playbook… if he, one of the LEGENDS, could be this giving to everyone, when no one would hold it against him if he did the opposite, then why can’t we? It’s a beautiful way to let him live on through the comedy family. Learn from his humanity as much as you have learned from his comedy. It’s just as much a part of his legacy.
One time Robin Williams was at Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction & I saw him laughing in the back during my story. After my set he came over to me & told me it was very funny. I’d had a rough week & that meant everything to me then, and it means absolutely everything to me now.
I hope you knew how much you meant to millions of people, funny man. It might not have kept you here, but goddamnit I hope you knew it.