George Carlin was a kickass guy who made me laugh as a little kid. His routines never got old. To this day, I count him as the best in the business, the head of the holy trinity of comics, right up there with the Great Electron that goes "WOM. WOM."
He got me through shitty times with a smile on my face. I never met the guy, but he's been with me on road trips, long walks, bad days, awesome days. I've shared him with friends, read him aloud, packed him on about five different generations of portable media, from my shitty WalkMan tape deck to my iPod.
George Carlin is in several hundred pages of my comic, woven into the line art, especially the shaky bits from when I was giggling too hard to keep the pen still. No one else can see it, but all I have to do is look at a particular page and there's his voice, snarking away. "Get on the plane, get on the plane. Fuck YOU, I'm getting IN the plane! There seems to be less WIND in here!"
What can I say about this guy?
George Carlin reassured me that the plane is going to survive humanity. He proved to me that language is a beautiful and crazy amusement park where the rides never stop being exciting and the tickets are all free. He taught me to take note of the hundreds of quirky, goofy and generally bizarre things people do that unite us as a species, like losing your keys and wanting to break open a batch of fresh-baked muffins in case the keys fell into the batter.
He cheerleaded the apocalypse because it sounded like a fun way to die. He mocked airline safety lectures. He told a mean fart joke.
I'm going to miss his brain. I'm going to miss a world with his angry and cantankerous lectures on human self-importance. I'm going to miss getting the giggles when a new bit of his takes me by surprise.
He once said life was a succession of dogs. You get a dog, it gets old, it dies, and you go out and get another dog. Sometimes you get a dog that looks just like the old dog, and you go on like that, and it's okay.
I didn't know the man, but he was good for the world, and I'm going to miss his brain. I've never actually cried because a fucking celebrity died before. But with George, it's not the personality that's been lost. It's the thousands of potential bits that died with him, unshared. He took his brain with him, and that's a fucking tragedy.
I'm keeping him in my thoughts, between "my ass hurts" and "let's fuck the waitress." I think he'd like that :)