Happy Radars – The Eyes Have It


Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong). 

The eyes have it for me. They tell the story despite the external hints to the contrary. The clowns taught me this lesson many years ago when I attended the circus. I adored the clowns.

Laughter is good for the soul. I fell in love with the clowns and laughter and in those moments began a love affair with me and comedy. The clowns outrageously large, red feet,  afro hair, and red noses  kept the whole tent laughing. Of all the acts that evening, the clowns with their white faces, wide red lips  and the unusual marks around the eyes were the most memorable. I left believing what a fun-filled life they must lead.

When they stopped dancing and performing for us, one of them took an elaborate bow right in front of me.  When he raised his head,  our eyes met and I saw the truth behind the paint. Pain. I was too young at the time to understand.  Without a word, he stepped forward and handed me a fake flower, then turned away, waved to the crowd and was gone.

Afterwards, for many years I collected clowns. Dolls, figurines, and paintings. It was the eyes which  drew me. I longed to know their story, to figure out what it was I had seen in the eyes of the clown at the circus. If only they could talk.

Then I found comedians and boy did they talk. They kept me laughing as long as I listened.  Gradually, I packed the clowns away and turned on Pandora tuning into my favorite comedy channel.  I’d listen or watch the comedians with the same delight as I’d watched the clowns. “God, living with them must be a blast,” I’d think. They look so happy, so much fun.

Ah, but the eyes the have it, they tell the real story, the truth behind the mask. Once again,  I was dead wrong. The loss of one of the greatest comedians, Robin Williams made it clear. Finally I knew the answer. Pain. I had seen pain, the truth behind the painted face, the mask of comedy. Words covered as well as paint.

We all have our masks.

Make Your Life Spectacular

Robin Williams

Robin Williams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like everyone else have been stunned by the untimely passing of Robin Williams. I am not surprised by the outpouring of love from across the globe for this man. We as a people and a nation are hungry for laughter and joy in our lives, and Mr. Williams gave it to us in spades. He uplifted our souls with laughter each and every time he stepped out into the public arena wiping away our worries and fatigue, if only for a brief interlude. And we loved him.

There is a reason the masks of comedy and tragedy are shown together. Humor often hides deep wounds. He brought us much joy, laughter, and comic relief after a many stressful and trying day. He not only uplifted our spirits but encouraged us, moved us with the passion of his words and performances and inspired us.

Comedy and tragedy masks

That we were unable to return the favor and provide a measure of the same rest for his soul, is a tragedy. Perhaps, his legacy to us all will be that we will learn to be more sensitive to others, to listen more carefully, to reach out to help someone in need long before it is too late, and to live extraordinary lives full of joy. Thank you Robin Williams for a life time of laughter and inspiration. 

“Please don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” 

Valedictorian, Jack Charles Powell (AKA Robin Williams in “Jack”)