The Worst Thing in Life

About a month ago I started watching World’s Greatest Dad with Robin Williams, but I stopped in the middle because the story was so cringe-inducing. So tonight I watched the rest of the movie. Near the end, Robin has a great line.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

It’s true, isn’t it? You can be surrounded by people and feel horribly alone. Especially when those people become less human by developing a reflexive disdain for anything weird.

This is why I was so fond of Robin Williams. He consistently and gloriously embraced being weird and—at the same time—he related to people in a way that acknowledged their fundamental human dignity. That combination was the antidote he carried around, inoculating people against the forces of dehumanization with the glint in his eye.

In the movie, after his epiphany about people who make you feel alone, Robin runs down the hall, eyes alight, grinning and stripping his clothes off to “Under Pressure” and jumps into a swimming pool. Then he befriends his departed son’s one actual friend, and together they go to a strange and wonderful neighbor’s apartment, and watch Night of The Living Dead, a movie about surviving zombies with aplomb.