One of my prized possessions is an autographed photo of the late comedian George Carlin.
A friend of mine got it for me what has to be nearly 20 years ago now when Carlin came to Buffalo for a show.
I love it because of the what he wrote on it.
It is just a picture of Carlin’s face and on his balding head he wrote: “Mark, I don’t give a s _ _ t what you say, George.”
I used to keep it on my desk in the office as a humorous reminder that a lot of people out there feel the same way about big shot editors who write weekly columns.
Our photographer, Jim Neiss, was nice enough to professionally mat it for me.
It is now on display in a spare room at my house where my wife allows me to show off some of the nonsense I’ve collected over the years.
Over the summer, while attending a book sale at the Lincoln Arena in Tonawanda, I stumbled across one of Carlin’s books titled: “When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?”
It was a great find based on the preface alone:
“I’m an outsider by choice, but not truly. It’s the unpleasantness of the system that keeps me out. I’d rather be in, in a good system. That’s where my discontent comes from: being forced to choose to stay outside.
My advice: Just keep movin’ straight ahead. Every now and then you find yourself in a different place.”
As my beloved journalism professor Charlie Adair once told me, having a column is both an honor and a chore because people — fans and critics alike — come to expect one from you in the same space every week, even if you don’t have the time or feel up for it.
Smart guy, that Charlie.
Anyway, what follows is a collection of printable Carlin-isms to make my life easier for a week:
• “Here’s a dead-end business: A shoeshine stand at the beach.”
• “Hard work is a misleading term. Physical effort & long hours do not constitute hard work. Hard work is when someone pays you to do something you’d rather not be doing. Anytime you’d rather be doing something other than the thing you’re doing...you’re doing hard work.”
• “Why does it always take longer to get somewhere than it does to come back?”
• “Wouldn’t it be fun if, all at once, everybody just forgot everything they knew?”
• “Here’s something you can’t do by yourself: Practice shaking hands.”
• “If you have twins, a good idea is to sell one of them. What the hell, you’ve got two, why not pick up a few dollars?”
• “Why is it the only time you ever hear the word figment it’s in relation to the imagination? Aren’t there any other kinds of figments?”
• “When your toilet won’t stop running, and you put your hand in the tank to fix the chain, don’t you wonder, briefly, whether or not the water in the tank has already been in the toilet bowl?”
• “Ignore these four words.”
• “I have an impersonal trainer. We meet at the gym, we don’t talk, he works out alone and I go home.”
• “You know what you never see anymore? A guy with a pencil behind his ear.”
• “I don’t own any stocks or bonds. All my money is tied up in debt.”
• “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
• “Live every day as if it’s your last and eventually it will be. You’ll be fully prepared.”
• And, finally:
“I’m hangin’ in, there ain’t no doubt;
and I’m hangin’ tough.
Over and out.”
Thank you, George Carlin.
This world misses your genius.
Contact Regional News Director Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.