Note: In this post, George always talks about his kids, plural. As far as I know, he has only one daughter, and google couldn’t tell me if George has any grandchildren. Still, every time I heard “my kids” not “my kid / my daughter.” That’s an apparent inaccuracy in the conversation, but I prefer to leave it as it came through.
George Carlin: (shows up with big cigar and glasses, like George Burns.) Well, you didn’t specify which George you wanted. There are a lot of dead George’s you know. Just the dead comedians ALONE named George could fill an above-ground backyard pool. (As I review this before posting, George shows me all the dead Georges filling a the backyard pool with pee.)
K: Heya George, it’s been a few days since we talked, and I was hoping to get some of what you said down.
G: Okay, sweetheart, give ‘em the RECAP!
K: Over the Thanksgiving Weekend (in Canada!) I discovered one of George Carlin’s stand up performances on Netflix that I had *not* previously seen. I can’t understand how this one slipped by me, because I’ve been a Carlin fan since I was a teenager. The performance is “It’s Bad for ya,” 2008.
George has said in other performances that he doesn’t believe there’s anything after you die. He was an atheist. (George breaks in: A former Catholic, atheist, be specific! Disillusioned Catholics are their own breed of Godless. They can’t go the wishy-washy halfway measure of “I believe in SOMETHING, I’m just not RELIGIOUS!” Fuck no, a former Catholic has to KILL GOD in his heart to be free of all the GUILT. Even when you use your logical brain, your Catholic guilt creeps in – when you’re raised thinking that God will condemn you to hell for eternity just for touching your own penis for pleasure, you have to KILL GOD just to be able to crank one out!”
So George was a hard-core atheist who didn’t believe in an afterlife, and I was remembering that, and remembering our earlier conversations with George Carlin, and chucking over George’s rant in “It’s Bad for Ya!” about how spirits have more important things to do than watch over their loved ones. And then we got to talking.
It was along the lines of, well let’s jump in –
G: Yeah, you were asking if I watch over my kids. And I do. That’s not the only thing I do – I have some very serious shit to take care of here. One of the first things I did is I fuckin’ went to the WHITE HOUSE! When you’re dead, there’s NO SECURITY!!! No security for the dead! I went straight to the white house, as soon as I had checked on my kids (daughter, grandkids – I can’t actually find evidence that he has grandchildren, but that’s what he said) I said to myself, “Where’s the first place I want to HAUNT?”
I went straight to the White House, and do you know who I saw there!? F. D. R. (Franklin D. Roosevelt). He’s still there! He NEVER LEFT! He is still watching over the bullshit and the bureaucracy. F. D. R. So I said, “Hey, Frank, what are you still doing here?” And we had a nice little conversation. You know what he said to me? “I’m still working.”
K: At this point in the conversation, Sweetie started to ask questions. When I’m talking with these guys, my brain is turned ¾ the way off. At this point in the conversation, I honestly didn’t remember what the initials “F.D.R” meant. Sweetie knew, though, and she had questions.
S: How did he die?
G: He was poisoned. He was assassinated. Ever since the war (Korean war) I always figured the government, the military, just like the corporations, just like all rich, ruling class people through all history, is just out to use and abuse the citizens of the country so that someone can get a hold of some power, or hang on to it for a while longer. I have been under no illusions about whom the government serves. Not its citizens. Not unless serving the citizens is a way of propping up power. But I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. I believed until that moment that F.D.R. had died of NATURAL CAUSES, and it was just this country’s bad luck! NOPE!
(At the time of this discussion, I had no idea that there is an actual “FDR was poisoned” conspiracy theory. Sweetie googled it after our discussion.)
G: I didn’t know how to feel about it, you know? I was heartened that here is this guy, still doing a job – some of the *really important shit* I was talking about (in his act.) Then I thought, HE’S STILL DOING HIS JOB? Is the White House FDR’s Hell???
So I asked him that, because I wanted to know if *I* was in Hell after all. All Catholics carry this fear, and I realized that most atheists – a few of them will admit it – they’re scared shitless that they won’t make the cut into Heaven. If you’re raised Catholic, no normal red-blooded, hormonal, flawed, selfish, self-absorbed, greedy, jealous, blasphemous human being would EVER make the cut into Heaven! And the rules are just a bunch of made-up shit anyway! Rather than modifying their thinking, getting mired in the made-up bullshit that religions and governments create to control us, it’s better for a lot of humans to just believe there’s going to be nothing. That’s better than a life of fear. It was the right choice for me, and if any man or woman wants to believe there is nothing after death – I say GOOD! Then do something with your life!
Let the kids believe in God though, and let them believe in Santa.
So FDR is sitting in his chair. Not a wheelchair, a regular chair, beside the couches, and he said to me, “This where I want to be. This office was where I connected with millions of people. I can still help the people of this country. As long as I can help the people, I will work here.”
Even though I’m dead, it’s comforting to me that a guy like FDR still gives a shit about the job that killed him. My kids are down there. I still CARE about what happens to them. That’s when I knew I was in Heaven, not that I call this place Heaven, but I knew I wasn’t in hell, because * FDR fucking inspired me * – I was in awe of him, and that hadn’t happened to me in a very LONG time. I knew that I could only feel that kind of awe in the good place, so that’s when I decided I needed to come up with some really important shit to do here too.
K: What do you do on the other side now? Do you watch over your family?
G: Yeah, I will always watch over my kids. It’s hard, not being able to pick up the phone or drop in unannounced. Well, I do, but she (daughter) doesn’t always notice. She notices some of the time, she laughs or says hello. But humans sleep a lot. It’s fascinating to watch your family, but after a while, you’re ready to take on some new responsibility.
K: Do you have a job?
G: I am the angel of death! (laughs) Well, one of them. I specialize in guys who don’t believe – the guys who think there’s nothing after you die. I LOVE it. Some of these guys, when they realize that they’re dead AND they’re still conscious, they try to shut their eyes and go to sleep – they want to be dead so badly, that they PLAY DEAD when they finally arrive! These guys don’t want to talk to their mothers or fathers, to hell with their ancestors, they believed they’d stop existing so they’re going to ACT LIKE IT.
I get to fuck with them a bit. Not a lot, just a little. Just enough so they know it’s me. Most of these guys have seen my shows, they know who I am which is why I’m the perfect guy for this gig. I’m the angel of death to atheist George Carlin fans! It’s like “It’s a wonderful life” for atheists. I love it. It gets them out of their shell, when they realize they’re Alice in some afterlife LSD Wonderland and I’m a part of their hallucination.
FDR in the Oval Office showed me how he was still connected to all the people his presidency had affected – millions of people. (Shows me FDR tugging on a large cable-like umbilical cord.) All my life I worked to make my life *mean something*. I felt that at its core, life was a meaningless, random existence, and if it isn’t – if there is some greater intelligence, I couldn’t invest in it or get caught up in trying to please it. All I knew for sure is I had whatever short life I would live, and then ultimately I would disappear into the infinite abyss. I know I’m not Jesus. Two thousand years from now, NO ONE is going to know who I am. Unless they make a bible out of my performances, which I think is highly unlikely!
FDR showed me I still have this tie to all of the people that my shows have affected. People would write to me and I knew I had fans, that my comedy had helped people, but I did not realize what I did in life would matter to me after I died. I didn’t think anything would matter, but it does. I am tied to all of the people who connected to my comedy, or anything else I did in life. What am I supposed to do with this tie?
So I followed it, and I followed it, and it branches out into a million other ties. It was like following a road that keeps branching off, and I’d just randomly take a branch. Left, right, up, down, whatever. When I got to the end of one of these ties, there’s a young man there, and he thinks he’s all alone. He had his family standing around, there was a bunch of tall guys (Spirit guides or angels? George doesn’t know) but this kid, this young man was just curled up refusing to look at or talk to anyone.
So I walk over there, and I asked, “Can I help?” A lot of people would call me an asshole, but if I saw someone stranded by the side of the road, I’d help them. That’s what you do. You pull over and ask if you can help.
This kid looks up at me, because he recognized my voice. That’s all it took. He knew my voice, my energy, that’s all it took to get this kid talking. It didn’t take very long, either, because once he was able to get over the fear of dying that had turned into a paralyzing fear of being dead, he was able to process his death fairly efficiently. It felt good, for both of us. I liked it.
I went and checked on the kids again, they were still sleeping, and I’d already haunted the white house, tried to set off a few of their alarms, but here’s haunting gets boring very quickly. There’s no point to shit disturbing for the sake of disturbing shit. It’s still a pile of shit at the end of the day. I always disturbed shit WITH A PURPOSE. In my life, I tried to focus on what was important, and in my act – I tried to WAKE PEOPLE UP. You know what I mean by that.
Now, I still get to do it. It’s the best job I’ve had in a looooong time.
K: Is it like employment? I know you wouldn’t be paid exactly, why do you call it a job? Duty?
G: I always loved to work. I loved to travel and talk because you never knew what was going to happen. That’s what this gig is like. You never know who is going to come over, or what their life was about, and why they don’t want to face their own death. Some of them are fine with being dead, but they’re astonished they still exist – those guys are fun! I spent two weeks showing around this old WWII veteran who just died how to travel through time. I still learn from these guys too – this guy was not an atheist, he wasn’t religious, he went to church because that’s what his family expected of him. He lived a good life, though. After serving in WWII he went to Korea, after that he said he just thought war is the worst kind of hell, and every day he wasn’t at war, that was a good day. So he went to church almost every Sunday, but he said he didn’t believe in God, because of the war. How could a God let such terrible things happen?
Let me tell you, buddy!
So this old veteran lived the rest of his life believing that hell and heaven were both on earth, and that after death there would be nothing. When he died and realized there IS an afterlife – he said “It was the happiest day of my after-life! I can’t wait for my wife to get here! She was right all along, of course. I’ll have to admit it so that it’s HER heaven too!”
Isn’t telepathic communication so efficient? (George doesn’t use the words “heaven” or “hell” these are words I am substituting for what he’s showing me, and it’s a close enough equivalent.) Heaven is not fluffy clouds and pearly gates. Well, there are pearly gates if you need them. I went to them just because I wanted to tell people heaven was CLOSED. Come back tomorrow! But they wouldn’t let me do that.
K: Who stopped you, St. Peter?
G: Naw, my family. Being dead makes you rediscover your family again. I didn’t want to be the guy that was harassing people at the gates. That’s new. I used to BE the GUY who would lock the gates! You know what made me an asshole? Just fear. Fear and sadness. I truly believed that mortal life was all there is, and I did my damndest to make my life mean something, and to leave something of value for my kids. I’d look around and see all these people just WASTING their lives, working dilatant jobs to fill their pockets with cash to fill their houses with crap in a vain attempt to give their lives meaning.
Now that I am here, I can relax. It’s very… relaxing.
K: Are you “at peace” George? (referencing his last stand up performance.)
G: Yeah, it’s damn good. Talk to you later, Kid!