Monday, June 22, 2009

Remembering George Carlin

It was one year ago today that George Carlin died of heart failure. He was 71.

I mentioned that to my brother during our Father's Day lunch with our father yesterday. He, too, was a Carlin fan, but I could tell from how he looked at me that he was wondering how I knew today was the anniversary, even though he never said so.

I don't really know. I've always had a good memory for dates, but how does one explain things like remembering the dates that famous people died? I remember when Princess Di was killed, too. I also remember what I was doing when I heard that Pope John Paul II had died or when Ronald Reagan died.

And I remember when John Lennon was killed.

In my mind, Carlin was the equal of each of them when it came to his public stature.

There have been many times in the last year when I have wished Carlin was still around.

We've had an economic meltdown, terrorist attacks in India, voting irregularities in Iran, the nomination of a Republican woman for vice president and the election of a black president, not to mention countless other things — hurricanes, earthquakes, bailouts, philandering politicians, an airplane making an emergency landing in the Hudson River — that would have provided considerable grist for Carlin's mental mill.

I've enjoyed many comedians over the years, but, for my money, Carlin was the best.

His insights are missed.