23 June, 2008

George of the jungle

I wouldn't expect CNN to get it right, and they didn't, when they talked this morning about the life of George Carlinwho, sadly, died yesterdayand focused almost entirely on his bit about the seven words you can't say on television. But I will remember George Carlin for much more than that. And how he helped to shape my own sense of humor by showing an uncanny ability to look at ordinary things in a far from ordinary way. No one else in the jungle of comedy stars and wannabees could do this better than he did. Possibly, no one ever will.

Back in the 60s, I laid down a few bucks and went to see George perform on the Pitt campus. Oddly enough, I don't remember much specific about that performance, other than George doing many of his early bits, like The Hippy Dippy Weather Man. And only sporadically did I follow his career throughout the decades that followed. But every time I would see him, on TV or in a movie, there was always an ample helping of that unique Carlin humor to enjoy.

In one of his routines, George posed the question why anybody would ever want to leave their home. And why wouldn't they? They wouldn't because that is where all their stuff is. No, we're not talking about dope here. You'd want to hide that in your neighbor's house anyhow!

As a fan of staying at home, I'd say George was on the same page with my dad, who didn't like to travel far from home, even for a weekend. Hey, now, with gas approaching five bucks a gallon, that kind of thinking is looking even better, eh?

Wherever you spend eternity, George...even to where you said souls might go--a garage in Buffalo...I hope you are in a place full of stuff that makes you happy. We can't thank you enough for your special brand of humor, that has given us so many wonderful moments to laugh at ourselves and the world. Now, that's the right stuff...for sure.

~PITTSBURGH starts with PITT!~

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