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Seven Words You Can't Say In Heaven

BY RICH HERSCHLAG
06.30.2008 | CULTURE

I've spent some time over the last few days channeling George Carlin, and I don't mean on HBO. Reports of his death, though not greatly exaggerated, are a little off. The legendary comic still has lots to say.

"Well, looks like I'm dead. It actually takes a while to make death stick. Junk mail keeps coming addressed to 'resident.' I haven't been returning many phone calls. I haven't used up all my free minutes or my toenail fungus medication. I've been lethargic. I've gotten a few comments that I'm just not behaving like myself. Maybe I could use a little pick-me-up or a laxative.

"Yep, I'm gone. Passed. Expired. Deceased. Gone to pasture. Six feet under. No more. No longer with us. Kicked the bucket. Met his Maker. Gone to the great beyond. Stiff. Laid out. Put me on permanent out of office reply. I won't be checking my voicemail. My domain name is suspended. I've been bumped for a summer replacement series.

"Do I have any regrets? Sure. I regret that I didn't videotape my passing and post it on YouTube. Bet you it would have gotten a lot of hits. I regret not dying a moment after someone in the room laid a big fart, so he'd think, 'Hey, I didn't mean to kill anyone!' I regret not renting a whole lot of DVDs from Blockbuster and dying the day they were due. They'd keep calling my home for years. 'Our records show you have not returned Pipi Longstocking.'

"But I look on the bright side. It's always good to die before the autopsy. And now I get to think about things even I never had the time to think about before. Like if all the times I was late and all the times I was early add up to zero. I don't have to listen to anyone yelling 'Marco!' or anyone, for that matter, yelling 'Polo!' I don't have to wait on line while the person ahead of me pays for a dining room set with rolls of pennies.

"They say you can't help getting older. Well, I finally got a handle on that situation. I'm going to stay 71 for a long, long time. And talk about going cold turkey, I'm no longer addicted to a wide variety of substances, including oxygen. I can no longer be bored. And I can no longer die. Most important of all, I can no longer be bored to death.

"Not to mention all the time I'll be saving. No more time wasted doing a number one. Or a number two. No more number three either, whatever the hell that is. Plus, no more getting ready for my day in the morning or getting ready for bed at night. All those activities cancelled each other out anyway.

Come to think of it, all the things I did when I got up and all the things I did when I went to bed were getting so overwhelming, they were threatening to meet in the middle somewhere around noon. Between breathing in and breathing out, there was just no time left. Not unless I was David Blaine. Now, you could say, I have a lot of time on my hands. Problem is, I don't have hands.

"I know what you're asking. Are there seven words you can't say in heaven? As a matter of fact, there are. These are the seven words you can't say in heaven: Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, and Libby. And Libby doesn't even belong on the list, man. It's such a friendly word. Sounds like a nickname. Scooter Libby. Come on -- the first name is a pie, the last name is a canned fruit."  

About the Author
Rich Herschlag is the author of a new book, Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don't Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and Women Are From Manhattan, Men Are From Brooklyn (Black Maverick, 2002).

Also an engineer, he runs a consulting business, Turnkey Structural, that specializes in the rehabilitation of residential and commercial buildings. Also a radio commentator, he can be visited at RichsRant.com.

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