Give Heaven Hell, George
Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits, George Carlin is dead.
I get up at 4:30 in the morning. On weekdays it’s work related. On the weekends it’s the cats. As any servant of the feline knows, cats don’t do weekends.
My usual routine at that hellish hour is to first plug in the IV bag of caffeine while groping about for a cigarette and trying not to trip over the cats in the process. Next comes the feline feeding frenzy, of course. Once the clamor has died down, I’m free to check; 1) Backspace, and 2) my email. This morning I wish I’d checked neither.
Not that it would have mattered. I would have found out soon enough. Once at work, I listen to NPR all day and the news about George was all over that station today.
It’s strange the way the death of a celebrity can affect you. And in different ways, too. When Kurt Vonnegut died last year, I was depressed for days. Yet, when Sydney Pollack and Utah Phillips, both of whom I greatly admired, died recently, it was sad hearing of their deaths but the sadness wasn’t lasting.
I’ve been sad all day. Profoundly sad. It’s like the universe has lost some essential part of its structure. To say that the man was an icon of my generation would be a vast understatement. And as hokey as it may sound, he was one of my heroes.
I was first turned on to George back in the sixties. I don’t remember the exact circumstance. Hell, I don’t remember much of the sixties or early seventies come to think about it. Be suspect of anyone who does. But I remember listening to George on the stereo and seeing him a half-dozen times at different venues. The pony-tail, the gruff voice, the way he dressed, the combination of extreme intelligence and defiance in his words had a profound impact on this twenty-something kid. He had a way of surgically cutting through the bullshit, of saying fuck you to the rules, of exposing the emperor in all his naked absurdity.
In this, the twenty-first century, with the political and religious absurdity in the world at an all time high, he will be sorely missed.
If there’s a heaven, George, give it hell.