At the age of 20, in about the middle of an "altered state of
consciousness", while on a Munchies Run to the nearby 7-11, I
encountered a very old man I'd gotten to know playing frisbee. The fact
that a guy who'd survived, and apparently enjoyed, his100 years so far
(he carried an old expired drivers license to verify his age), played
frisbee with a bunch of college students made him a fixture in the
Anyway, he was having trouble distinguishing between the buttermilk and
regular milk cartons (non-fat, low fat, reduced fat, 2% and "Vitamin D
Enriched" hadn't been invented yet - AND 7-11s carried buttermilk back
then). He asked me to pick out the buttermilk for him, which I did.
"Thanks. You're a good kid." - he said, then leaned in and said in a
conspiratorial voice - "I'm gonna tell you something you won't
understand at your age."
I waited for Words of Widsom, an significant insight from a man who no
doubt had seen and done a lot of things in a hundred years.
"Life is absurd you know?" he said looking me right in the eye - just a
hint of a smile on his face.
Given the perceived experiences of my past few hours I whispered in his
ear "I know." and smiled back at him.
He held me at arms length, hands on my shoulders, and studied my face
and looked in my eyes for what seemed like hours. Then he stepped back,
milk carton in hand, smiled again and said "You know, I think maybe you
do." and walked out of the store.
And soon after The Draft, and A JOB, and a wife, and a son, and a
parent's death, and . . ., the things of Adulthood shoved that little
bit of insight WAY to the back burner.
But Carlin somehow managed avoid
"When I was a child I played with toys, but then I became a man and I
put away my childish things."
He saw the absurdity in many of the things we do and allow to be done TO
us, and, with humor, reminded us of just how absurd (so clearly
unreasonable as to be laughable or ridiculous) life is.
Jon Stewart - here's the torch. Try not to burn yourself - out.
R.I.P. George - ya done good.
ps. the old man's secret of longevity
1. a shot of decent to very good bourbon a day
2. avoid marriage ; )