I was 12 when Mork from Ork premiered. It was the last year of my official “childhood” and provided a bright light in a dark time. Mork was the ultimate outsider, a weird alien who didn’t see things the same way as everyone around him.
I can’t begin to describe how well I related to this funny little man. It gave me a sort of strength I didn’t have before. Yeah, I might be weird, but weird isn’t necessarily bad. Weird can be an advantage.
I’d already learned things from my books. Things like “leave others their otherness.” But to see someone on television play such an outsider, someone as baffled by human behavior as I was, gave me something I hadn’t really had. A message that maybe it’s okay to be the outsider. Maybe there’s something to find out there that isn’t available to everyone.
So that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard of Robin Williams’s death. Mork from Ork. The little alien who landed on Earth and infiltrated our hearts. The alien that dared to question war, racism, sexism, and just man’s weirdest traits in general. I know he’s gone and done so many other things for which he’s known, but I remember, first and foremost, the comedian who guest-starred on Happy Days a couple of times before appearing on Laverne and Shirley and getting his own show not long afterward.
Goodbye, Sir. May whatever lay behind the veil give you more peace than you had in life. We will sorely miss your energy and humor.