Adventures in Los Angeles 3.5.1 – Tomorrow

June 23, 2008

My friends and I had planned to go out and sing karaoke tonight.  I was jazzed and rearing to go… as I am really little more than a ham in shoes… but that was before I heard about George.

I told my friends as we waited for our cab, and one by one I saw how we all lost the desire to cavort and sing and act like fools.  They knew what I knew,  I think… that we lost something big tonight.  We lost something beautiful.

Now I'm sure someone reading this will wonder why the hell I'm getting so bent out of shape about a comedian.  A raunchy, pissy, cynical comedian at that.  Well here's the thing: he wasn't a comedian.  He was a philosopher.  A philosopher like my friends Bill and Kurt… men who looked at the most awful truths of what we are; who gazed deeply into the essential ugliness that is humanity, into the pus and shit and blood and murder and rape and genocide… into the neglected children and the battered wives, the plastic dog vomit and the microwave dinners, the American Idols and the Sean Hannitys and the war after war after wars… and they laughed.

They laughed (to paraphrase myself) at the truths of our existence that make me want to cry. 

George Carlin wasn't a comedian… he was a prophet… he was a club… he was a big, black nuclear bomb trained upon our collective human ego.

George Carlin was an artist… and his medium was the slurry of every pinch of wickedness and simplicity our disgusting species ever had to offer.

And that makes him beautiful.  And that's what we've lost.

My dear friend Seth, a wonderful man whose eyes welled upon hearing the news that George had died, said something really true tonight while we stood outside staring at the sky and smoking cigarettes.  "He was the last, great voice from our parents' generation.  There's nobody left.  All that leaves is us."

Was it melodramatic?  Sure.  But he was drunk, and I was drunk, and we were both sharing the same pangs of loss at that moment…

I looked at him and told him, "I know."

We went on smoking in silence after that.

Tonight I'm going to listen to George.  He'll be my lullaby.  I'll fall asleep to the music of his howls and judgments, his laserlike truths… his voice which balmed as much as it abraded.  Tonight I'll be sad and be frustrated and piss and moan like I always do.  Tonight I'll be a cynic.

I'll save my hope for tomorrow, when I drag myself out of bed and head off to school… and share stories with my friends and try to sharpen what paltry abilities I have… all in order to do what my friends George and Kurt and Bill did.  Tomorrow I'll go back to learning how to find beauty in the ugliness, a little thrush of hope amid the trash.  I'll learn to remember that love is better than hate because it's the harder emotion to feel; that our kind can still compose beauty even when it's engulfed by so much noise and fog.  I'll save my hope for tomorrow… and hope that I can hold on to those last precious shreds that remind me that for all of his wickedness, his weakness, his humanness… George Carlin, like Kurt and Bill, still managed to be beautiful.  Still managed to be good.

So maybe there's a little hope for us all.

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