The death of Robin Williams has inspired an outpouring of love and sadness, not just by those who knew him personally but also by people like us, his fans.
It’s an odd thing, celebrity. A man most of us have never met feels as familiar as a friend, even though we remain completely unknown and unrecognizable to him.
As everyday people share their favorite memories from his long and varied career, I’m struck by the way these memories can be simultaneously personal and yet shared. Still, in all the clips and old photos I have seen over the past two days, the one thing I haven’t seen is mention of one of my favorite Robin Williams memories. It was something that provided me and my family with hours of fun.
It’s the “Mork & Mindy Card Game.”
The interwebs tells me there were two games. Mine was released in 1978 and the other, a more traditional board game, came out in 1979.
Our game worked kind of like “Uno” where you get rid of cards based on color or kind, except the cards were of various space creatures.
There were also “special” cards that let you penalize your opponent. Each represented a character from the show. There was a “Cora” card (“Aah Aah!”); a “Fredzo” card (“Zabah!”); and an “Orson” card (called “Zzzzzt”).
There was also a wild card.
And, of course, there was…
The unique part of the game was that you had to pronounce the names of all these strange space creatures as you played the cards. If you threw down a Mork card, you shouted “Na-no Na-no” (the game used that spelling over “Na-nu Na-nu”) and then grabbed one of these styrofoam eggs.
There was always one less egg than player at the table. The loser had to draw more cards. Every time you had to draw, you had to say “Shazzbot!”
The game was a blast. Whether I was playing it with my whole family or just one-on-one with my sister, it inspired this kind of energetic verbal lunacy that just made you laugh out loud. It was something kind of like the comedic genius of Robin Williams.
Robin Williams will be missed. I’m grateful for his creativity, and for getting the chance to grow up with it. And I am most grateful for the laughter. Thanks for the memories.