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Sitting out at the Limerick outlet mall during the big Labor Day sale last weekend, I had plenty of time to daydream. I know my role on these shopping trips: Sitting, snoozing, schlepping. And, of course, with all of that comes the daydreaming.
And here is what I concluded: I miss George Carlin.
AV wH finG RuUVHOYHV Ln the middle of silly political FRnYHnWLRn VHDVRn, , wRndered what Carlin would hDYH WhRughW DbRuW WhH SURcess of choosing our leaders WhHVH GDyV. , GRn’W bHOLHYH it’s a stretch to say that he wouldn’t think much of it at all.
But I don’t write about politics in this space. We hDYH HnRugh RI WhDW hRR-hD at our disposal if we choose WR UHDG LW. SuIfiFH WR VDy WhDW I don’t think George Carlin would be amused by today’s politics.
I started listening to Carlin in the early 1970s, around the age of 13 or 14. In those days, he recorded comedy albums, and I was fascinated by his use of the language and his take on human nature. He was less political then, but so was my teenage wRUOG. CDUOLn WhRughW flDWulence was funny and so did I. I still think that today and I’m sure he would, too.
7hH fiUVW CDUOLn DObum I can recall listening to was called “Class Clown,” released in 1972, and it had on it what would become one of Carlin’s signature bLWV: “SHYHn :RUGV YRu CDn 1HYHU SDy Rn 7HOHYLVLRn.”
In case you are nRW IDPLOLDU wLWh LW, WhH VHYen words you couldn’t say Rn WHOHYLVLRn bDFN WhHn wHUH bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleepbleeper, bleeperbleeper and bleeps. Three of those words can now be said on nHWwRUN WHOHYLVLRn, DnG DOO FDn bH VDLG Rn SDy WHOHYLVLRn. 1RnH, hRwHYHU, FDn bH written in a family newspaper and that still holds true today because, well, it’s unnHFHVVDUy. :H’YH DOO hHDUG WhH wRUGV; PDny RI uV hDYH used them. You don’t need to see them in your local newspaper. I continued to listen to Carlin’s commentary through college, HYHn VHHLng hLP SHUIRUP OLYH RnFH at Iowa State UniYHUVLWy Ln APHV, Iowa, in the late 1970s. Frankly, I don’t remember much about that performance because I was preoccupied in those early years of college with women, beer and D nHw PRYLH FDOOHG “AnLPDO House.” But I’m pretty sure I laughed because I always thought Carlin was hilarious.
The next time I got a FhDnFH WR VHH hLP OLYH wDV nearly 20 years later in Las Vegas in the mid-1990s. My wife and I were with my college roommate, Billy McBride, and his wife, Cher, on a little three-day weekend getaway to Sin City.
,W wDV WhH ODVW HYHnLng RI RuU WULS, DnG wH wHUH OHDYLng Rn Dn HDUOy flLghW WhH nHxW morning. Carlin was performing a late show at one of the casinos — I think it was BDOOy’V — DnG HYHUyRnH HOVH in my party was tuckered out and didn’t want to go to the show. But how could I not walk right across the street to see the great George Carlin?
So I went by myself, bought a single ticket, and got a seat right in the front row for the show. Carlin was bULOOLDnW WhDW HYHnLng.
Afterwards, I decided to fiOO uS WhH UHnWDO FDU’V gDV WDnN VR , GLGn’W hDYH WR wRUry about that the next morning on the way to the airport. There was a gas station right near Bally’s, so I got the car out of the parking garage DnG hHDGHG RYHU.
Because it was late, one FRuOGn’W fiOO uS DW WhDW VWDWLRn wLWhRuW SUH-SDyLng fiUVW. SR , walked into the store, where there were two cashiers. One hDG D ORng OLnH RI VHYHn RU eight people standing in it, the other had only one guy. Naturally, I picked the shorter line.
The guy in the line, dressed in a black T-shirt and black jeans, was blabbering on about how he used to be a FDb GULYHU Ln LDV 9HgDV DnG blah, blah, blah. I wasn’t a foot away from him but was only half listening, more concerned about weather I wanted a bag of peanuts or potato chips.
The dude in front of me HYHnWuDOOy TuLW yDNNLng. I prepaid for my gas and went back outside and fiOOHG WhH WDnN. :hHn , wHnW back inside to collect my change, I got back in the same line.
When I got up to the counter, the female cashier said, “Did you see who you were standing behind when you wHUH Ln hHUH WhH fiUVW WLPH?” “No, who?’ I responded. “That was George Carlin,” she said.
“No it wasn’t,” I said. “I just came from his show not a half hour ago. And I’m a hugH IDn. ,’YH gRW WhH WLFNHW stub right here in my pocket.”
She receipt then from produced a behind the counter. On the back it was signed, “George Carlin.”
Argh. Carlin had been wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans for the performance. He had once been a FDb GULYHU Ln LDV 9HgDV. HH had a ponytail.
Some formally trained RbVHUYHU , wDV DW WhDW SRLnW in my journalistic career. What a missed opportunity. , wRuOG hDYH ORYHG WhH WDON with him one-on-one then DnG , wRuOG ORYH WR WDON with him now and get his take on today’s political landscape.
My guess would be he’d say something along the lines of bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleepbleeper, bleeperbleeper and bleeps.
Mike Morsch is executive editor of Montgomery Media and author of the book, “Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life.” He can be reached by calling 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ yahoo.com. This column can also be found at www.montgomerynews.com.
Outta Leftfield Mike Morsch