was fortunate enough to have seen George Carlin perform live exactly
twice in my not-so-short life. That's
approximately two more times than 99.999% of the humans on this Earth. I
am a fortunate person in this regard.
The second time I saw his act was at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas,
Texas, possibly the worst place anyone could ever hope to watch any comedian
sight-lines are atrocious and the sound system was primitive, to put
it charitably. All I remember of the performance is desperately trying
to see the stage
of the guy sitting in the row ahead of me.
But the first time I saw Mr. Carlin's act was on December 9, 1979 at
Will Rogers Auditorium in
brothers joined me that evening and we had seats on the second row.
I remember the date so well because it's written on the tape I made of
the show. The recorder I used was an encyclopedia-sized Panasonic cassette
recorder which I am, to this day, astonished they allowed past the ticket-takers
as it was impossible to conceal.
It's at this point I'd like to go off on a seemingly pointless tangent
about human laughter.
You see, we all have two laughs. The first is for small gatherings of
two or more people. It's usually nothing more than a reserved chuckle
or the occasional hearty guffaw.
And then there's the other laugh, the one we use when we know we're surrounded
by a throng of those of similar tastes. It's louder and less reserved
as we try hard to make ourselves heard above the collective din. Because
everyone else in the immediate vicinity is making a similar sound
there's rarely reason for embarrassment.
And now back to our story.
As my mouth was only inches away from the built-in microphone
of the tape recorder this laugh, the second one of which I wrote, is
the laugh you hear every time Mr. Carlin waxed jestful.
Even for me it's rather painful to endure my ecstatic braying and it's
largely the reason I've only listened to the whole tape twice since
I recorded it.
But this recording
thing I reached for when I heard that Mr. Carlin had
passed on and I spent the next two hours forgetting about me and remembering
and the world was still full of Carlin.
PS, this rant is dedicated to the Maxell LN C120 cassette tape, without
which this wallow down Nostalgia Lane would not have been possible. 30
years and still going strong.