Richard Simmons! We love you! We want you to live!

I opened there in case Richard Simmons has a Google alert on his name. I want him to see that first and foremost. This post is dedicated to his mental health and well being. That sounds silly, as any scenario involving pop culture's foremost fitness clown is bound to sound silly, but I'm being as serious as humanly possible while referring to a man who gleefully rode a plastic turtle in last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It's been almost a year since Richard Simmons has been seen in public. TMZ reports that he is not responding to his friends and has told his housekeeper to turn away those who come calling. The cause might have something to do with knee surgery that Simmons reportedly needs. Says TMZ:

A source extremely close to Richard — one of the few people with whom he is in contact — tells TMZ the fitness guru is in a massive state of depression over a bum knee. He says doctors told Richard he needs a left knee replacement and if he doesn't get one he will never be able to exercise again.

The source says Richard is terrified of the surgery and has put it off all year. He had a right knee replacement 4 years ago and he put off that surgery for nearly a decade ... he was that frightened.

OMG, get the GD surgery, Simmons. The fuck are you thinking? You need a friend to go through it with you? I'll fly my ass out to L.A. (on Gawker's dime) to accompany you and then write about my experience. You get your support, I get my content, win/win.

There may be more underlying Simmons's social paralysis (of course there is more), say other sources.

Other friends and business associates tell TMZ they don't believe this is just a knee problem ... they think it's more serious.

Richard Simmons has given us Sweatin' to the Oldies, and Deal-a-Meal infomercials featuring people crying over fat and food, and insane Howard Stern interviews, and everything here, and an earnest foray into music. And more! I mean, I looked on Getty's site to find an image for this post and was deluged with options.

And those are just from the first page of results!

Any negativity I brought with me into work today, in fact, dissipated when I began thinking about and looking at pictures of Richard Simmons. In seeking to cheer him up, he cheered me up. Maybe what Richard Simmons needs to brighten his day is a good old helping of Richard Simmons. As we all know well, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

[Images via Getty]