Vague ramblings

Mork calling Orson: report on a terrible disease

Posted in Life by Ian Cundell on 12 August, 2014

I wouldn’t ordinarily respond off the cuff to something as brutal as a suicide, but the instant I saw the news tonight, this scene from Mork & Mindy came into my head. It seems apt to cite it in full.

Mork & Mindy, Season 1, Episode 21 ‘In Mork We Trust‘:

Orson: The report, Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?
Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themselves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.
Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.
Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one. Isn’t that zen-like?

Obviously it was the emboldened line that has lodged in my mind ever since 1979, and I don’t really agree with the pay-off. One can be desperately lonely in a crowded room. But often the simplest lines are the ones with staying power.

Anyway, if you have never seen the Robin Williams live at the New York Metropolitan Opera performance from 1986, then track it down. You will know what it is to be in pain – real, full-on, have to pause it to recover pain –  from laughter.


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