Growing up in South America, without TV, without comedy, without anything deemed “worldly,” I became a totally weird kid upon return to the U.S. As a young adult, I discovered Mork, Robin Williams’ character on Mork & Mindy.
He seemed as shocked, surprised, and thrilled when confronted with what non-aliens considered Common Knowledge, most of which was entirely foreign to me too. When he told the egg, “Fly, fly” and it hit the floor, Mork made me feel almost intelligent. People and all their strange behaviors scared me to the core of my soul. Guaranians were gentle people; Americans were foreign. Mork made me feel safe and not so odd. If only for 30 minutes, I carried his silliness within me as I flailed about to comprehend this new world, into which I was plopped.
All these strange people kept asking, “What is wrong with Joanna?” and “Jo, why’re you being such a sour-puss?” Many had known me during the first three years of my life but I did not know them. Did they not realize that we lived in fear for our lives before, during, and after my dad was imprisoned in a Paraguayan prison? Welcome to America!
“You’re only given a little spark of madness; you mustn’t lose it.”