June 23, 2008


George Carlin

As a 13-year-old, I'd go over to my friends' Phil and Steve Porvaznik's house, sit in their bedroom and listen to their George Carlin albums over and over again until we memorized even the applause levels and odd sounds of uncontrolled laughter in the audience. Yeah, we felt like outlaws reciting the Seven Dirty Words. When you're a skinny white geek in 1978, such words stand out like shiny commandments. But there was so much more that made us laugh harder and deeper.

Nobody loved words more than George Carlin. He'd use them like cat toys. He'd slash you with them like sabres. He'd roll up a loose, fragrant word and smoke it with you. Sometimes he'd grab a word by the handle and bang you in the forehead. You felt like you were in the hands of a master craftsman. You didn't know if you were sailing for silly waters or angry, but you knew it would be okay.

George Carlin introducted me to words. And then the words came and sat in my lap, whispered in my ear, played with my neck and asked to go home with me. I've been in love ever since. The words handed me off to Steve Martin and Sam Kinnison and Bill Hicks and Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg. The words fill my wallet twice a month. I have Carlin to thank for that.

Be careful how you use them, people. George showed us that in the hands of the feeble or the misanthropic, words used incorrectly might as well be babies playing with hand grenades.

Or, you know, bloggers with too many metaphors at their disposal.

Posted by Jeff at June 23, 2008 07:17 AM | TrackBack
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