Rollin’ on the River with Mark Taylor


I grew up wanting to be just like George

I have reading a book recently that chronicles the life of the late and very great comedian George Carlin. I must say if I had a comic hero growing up, it would have to be George. The hilarious monologues filled with things we all knew about but forgot to laugh at when it happened were a trademark of his. George had been interviewed by the author Tony Hendra for years and the recordings were shelved until George got the time to put pen to paper. Well, as it is for many things, time ran out on George’s life and Hendra wound up writing it.

I find that many of the things George did were similar to things that happened in my own life. He grew up in a simpler time as I did, where you could run freely and be a kid and most of the time arrive home unscathed. I remember one of his earlier albums, “Occupation: Foole” and how he told about the crazy things he did and actually got paid for it and even spelled “fool” wrong to tick people off even more. I think anybody who has aspired be a full-time fool needs to have many things at their disposal.

Certainly, making goofy faces and armpit sounds are both necessities. Check and check. It is not always in a person’s best interest to get a good education and if there is any way that you can prevent other people from getting one, then you must pursue that dream as well. I can remember teachers and other crazy adults telling me that my face would remain in the same way if I didn’t stop making funny faces. Well, it appears they were right. It did stay that way – funnier than an empty CARE package!

I never knew there was any formal term to describe people who could be cutting with their sarcasm, especially to people who were older and bigger than you. Of course, nowadays, we call it “chirping,” and nowhere is it more prevalent than in sports. I heard a story about a former hockey player turned broadcaster Ray Ferraro who was really prolific at this art form. During a game on Halloween night years ago, Ray got tangled up with NHL Tough Guy Tie Domi.

Making sure the refs were securely in between them, Ray yapped, “Hey, with a head like that, you should be sitting on somebody’s doorstep!” Now that’s big-league chirping. I can remember some tough guys who would try exerting pressure on me or my buddies and using this method to escape a good thumping. “Oh yeah, I’ll hit you so hard, your old man will fall over! I’ll hit you so hard, you’ll starve to death bouncing! I’ll hit you so hard, it will kill the both of us!” Of course, sometimes you just needed a good pair of sneakers, but a quick lip is also beneficial and a good pairing when you are fleet of foot.

Now that we are well past the federal election, it seems like the country is free-wheeling and running itself. Rarely, do you hear anything coming out of Ottawa, unless it’s somebody taking credit for something good that happened. I guess it’s like anybody who is starting a new job. You make sure you stay out of the way, don’t say or do anything that would cause any issues, and be sure to take credit whenever possible but never take any blame. As my hero George once said, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”