Seven years ago today, the great George Carlin died. Today, his seven dirty words live on. Like many fans of comedy, Carlin is at the top of the list. His brilliant mind, jokes, wordplay and consistency over half a century will forever cement him as one of the greatest comedians of all time.
Humor has always been a central part of my life. My family always cracked jokes at each other's expense, and I quickly took after my dad's sarcasm, not to mention a few dirty words that'd become a part of my vernacular.
However, it wasn't until I was about 16 that I discovered the world of stand-up comedy.
YouTube was gaining in popularity at the time (yes that was already 10 years ago), which made the descent down the rabbit hole that much easier. Pryor, Chris Rock, Sam Kinison, Steven Wright, Eddie Murphy, Denis Leary, Robin Williams, Chappelle, Sinbad, Dave Attell, David Cross, Andrew Dice Clay, Bill Hicks and the list goes on.
It was like opening up a new door to a new world, and one person on the other side of that door really stood out. When you're a teenager, you're going through a lot of changes. The pressures of life and the realities of adulthood are quickly beginning to close in around you, and it's only a matter of time before you're thrust into a terrifying new chapter.
If you're lucky, you have a good support system, which I did. But comedy is also a great teacher. It helps to show a subject, often negative, in a completely different perspective.
Carlin taught me it was okay to have weird thoughts, and to question everything, including the taboo topic of religion. He taught me it was okay to be afraid, and we all no matter our race or background, have much of the same things in common.
Most importantly, George Carlin like many people before and after, taught me that life is finite, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Because of that fact, we shouldn't get so caught up in the bullshit. Thanks for the laughs and lessons, you motherfucker.
Photo credit: Geoff Sowrey