We Don’t Know Them

He could make everybody happy but himself.
~ Garry Marshall

The sudden and tragic death of Robin Williams reminds me of four words I try to remember: We don’t know them.

One day I was in the green room at Fox & Friends in New York when I recognized the man next to me pouring himself a cup of coffee. I said to him, “Hey, you’re David Cassidy!” He took a sip from his steaming cup and replied, “Yep.” We went on to have a nice conversation. I told him how much my sister loved him, how she owned every one of his records, and how she used to hang Tiger Beat pictures of him all over her bedroom walls. “Really? I’ve never heard that before,” he joked and we both laughed. He took another sip, and his face turned serious. “You know, it’s weird,” he began. “People think they know me just because I was on TV. They act like I’m their friend. It’s kind of awkward because it’s so one-sided. I’ve never seen them before in my life, but they have a history with me.”

I guess it comes with the territory of being famous, but we really should try to remember that just because we can catch them on Netflix, go to their movie, or buy their latest single, celebrities are just people, imperfect and just as susceptible to addiction, depression, and darkness as we are—perhaps more so.

Today I’m mourning the loss of a man I didn’t know. I’m reminded of the power of the enemy that sought his destruction—the same enemy that seeks my own.