Forgive me, Dear and Gentle Reader, as I can't seem to let this go yet. The man meant so much to so many, it seems a shame to let his death pass and not host a decent Irish wake in his honor. So grab a cold beer and sit down and reminice with me, while "Danny Boy" plays softly in the background.
The very first album I ever bought, ever, was "On the Road", and I bought it for my brother's birthday, and he was coming home from the army. My brother was the funniest person I have ever known, and in my twelve year old mind, there would be nothing he would like more than a good comedy album for the occasion. I got it out of the bargin bin at the local See-Way department store, and it took every cent I had. I picked it solely because the cover had him drawing on an outline of a body on the road, and the outline had a smile. I just knew this was going to be good.
My brother and I celebrated that night with pizza, pop, and two bags of Dorritos at his new apartment in Columbus. He left for a short time to run some small errand and left me there quietly munching. Since there was no t.v., I fired up my brother's state of the art Hi-Fi and put on the record I had gotten him. By about the third line, I had already shot a large gulp of Dr. Pepper through my own nose. By the sixth, I was prepared wet myself. I had never before heard such flippancy, such delivery, or such an insight.
My brother returned as George was halfway through his final bit on the first side of the album, and found me writhing with laughter on the sofa, Dorrito orange fingers and face, and with a damp shirt. I could barely stifle my laughter long enough to plead with him to sit down and listen, while I reset the needle to the begining.
I tried very hard not to giggle before the punchlines. I tried hard to contain myself as George built his story to the next funny climax. I tried very hard, but failed.
I laughed my ass off even worse.
At first Bill was a little put off that he was so free with his colorful language, but after a moment, he seemed to sit back and soak it all up, and laughed almost as hard as I did. I felt it was some minor coup of mine to have made my brother Bill laugh so hard, and it made me proud.
From there on out, for every gift giving holiday that came along, I always tried to find him a Carlin album he didn't have, and I always sat down with him for the first listen. It was something we shared together.
Almost twelve years ago, my brother Bill seperated himself from the family over some disagreement with my parents. To this day, I don't know what it was about. My only contact with him was almost eleven years ago when he sent a hurtful congratulations note on my engagement. I left messages that were never returned, and I don't even know if he is alive today.
Wherever you are, George and Bill, know that I miss you both dearly.