I was driving back home from taking the lad to school this morning and started hearing the name George Carlin on NPR. I didn’t quite catch what started the start of piece, but they kept mentioning him in the past tense, saying he was due to receive the Mark Twain award for humor this year. Hopping online, it confirmed what I had thought: George Carlin died last night. He passed due to heart failure.
This is a tough loss for me to take. I never knew the man, never even saw him perform live. Yet through illegally downloaded mp3 files, he touched my life.
I listened to Carlin’s wit with our often ridiculous language and culture with my friends as we went through our teen years. I recall ten solid minutes of laughing with Warren the first time we listened to Carlin’s “Airline Announcements” bit. The way he toyed with the expressions and phrases of our English language was masterful and insightful. It always had an appeal for me and my stickler ways.
I remember telling my mom about how funny this Carlin guy was, and she replied, “Oh, that was the stuff my friends and I would listen to.” My mum’s coolness factor jumped up a notch just then. It did the same when going through my parents’ old record collection and I found out she was a Beatles fan.
George Carlin was definitely one of those influences out there in the world that warped me just right. I shudder to think of what my life and the rest of the world would be like had he not been around.
There will be many obituaries and tributes commenting on the achievements of one of our history’s greatest comedians. This is my small homage to George Carlin. I will always remember the way he made my own life brighter, the tears of mirth, the endless quoting language with my friends. And I am excited to see my children discover him in my own music collection.
It is from him I learned the differences between Baseball and Football, that dogs cannot perceive time, the seven words I can’t say on television, and that ‘preheated’ is a meaningless fucking term. And best of all, I learned that my own brain droppings could someday be of value. I am most grateful for that.
I will miss you, George Carlin.