Authors: George Carlin
Tags: #Humor, #Form, #Political, #General, #Topic, #Essays, #American wit and humor
??NAPALM AND SILLY PUTTY
ALSO BY GEORGE CARLIN?Brain Droppings
To sweet Sarah Jane,?the keeper of my magic.
? HYPERLINK “file:///E:\\Documents%20and%20Settings\\Dom\\Desktop\\1791_NapalmSillyPutty%5B1%5D\\Napalm_body-contents.html” \l “TOC-1” ??Acknowledgments ?
To begin, I would like to acknowledge those of you who read Brain Droppings. It did better than I expected, and I want to say thanks. By the way, if you haven’t read it yet, fear not. You can read this first and then rush out to the store to get Brain Droppings. The two are not sequential.
For those who did read the first book, you’ll find this is the same sort of drivel. Good, funny, occasionally smart, but essentially drivel.
Thanks also to my boyhood friends from 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue who listened to my street-corner and hallway monologues when I was thirteen and gladdened my young heart by saying, “Georgie, you’re fuckin’ crazy!”
Most of all, thanks to my editor, Jennifer Lang, for her patience and support, and for putting these thoughts of mine in order.
Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies lest they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth.
—Professor Byrd Gibbens,
Professor of English,
University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
From a letter to the author.
Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.
If you can’t dance you fuck a lot of waitresses.
Sometimes gum looks like a penny.
? HYPERLINK “file:///E:\\Documents%20and%20Settings\\Dom\\Desktop\\1791_NapalmSillyPutty%5B1%5D\\Napalm_body-contents.html” \l “TOC-2” ??Introduction ?
Hi, reader. I hope you’re feeling well, and I hope your family is prospering in the new global economy. At least to the extent they deserve. For the next few hundred pages I will be your content provider.
Regarding the title of this book, Napalm & Silly Putty: Sometime ago I was struck by the fact that, among many other wondrous things, Man has had the imagination to invent two such distinctly different products. One, a flaming, jellied gasoline used to create fire, death, and destruction; the other, a claylike mass good for throwing, bouncing, smashing, or pressing against a comic strip so you can look at a backwards picture of Popeye. I think the title serves as a fairly good metaphor for Man’s dual nature, while also providing an apt description of the kinds of thoughts that occupy me, both in this book and in my daily life: on the one hand, I kind of like it when a lot of people die, and on the other I always wonder how many unused frequent-flier miles they had.
The only difference between lilies and turds is whatever difference humans have agreed upon; and I don’t always agree.
? HYPERLINK “file:///E:\\Documents%20and%20Settings\\Dom\\Desktop\\1791_NapalmSillyPutty%5B1%5D\\Napalm_body-contents.html” \l “TOC-3” ??CARS AND DRIVING: PART ONE ?
Ridin’ or Drivin’?
You wanna go for a ride? Okay, let’s go for a ride. Well, actually, you’ll go for a ride, I’ll go for a drive. The one who drives the car goes for a drive. The other person goes for a ride. Most folks aren’t aware of that. Tell ’em when they’re gettin’ into your car. Say, “You assholes are goin’ for a ride, I’m goin’ for a drive. ’Cause I’m the one who’s makin’ the payments on this shit-box.”
Gettin’ in the Car
Now, for purposes of description, you’ll have to picture my car: an old, poorly maintained, dangerous collection of faulty parts from that wonderful time before safety became such a big goddamn deal in this country. And my car is like any other small car—real hard to get into. That’s important, because, after all, you gotta get into the car first. Otherwise, the way I look at it, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.
And let’s not forget, with any kind of car, just opening the driver’s door and getting in involves a certain amount of risk. Have you noticed that? The terrific way they designed cars so the driver’s door opens right out into the middle of goddamn traffic? Jesus! About the only intelligent thing the British ever did was putting that driver’s seat right over there near the curb where it belongs. Of course then they went and moved the curb to the wrong side of the street.
Park like a Man
Anyway, like I said, no small car is easy to get into, but especially if you park the way I do: illegally, two feet out from the curb, on a busy, high-speed thoroughfare right in the middle of rush hour. And that sort of car entry is even riskier if you’ve got a two-door, and you’re tryin’ to stuff a coupla shopping bags full of groceries into the backseat while everyone else is zippin’ past you, close enough to smell your breath.
Holy shit! Look out!! Here comes a drunken bus driver! Quick! Abandon groceries! Stand up straight! Squeeze against the car and pull that door as close to your body as you can, taking care of course not to cut off circulation to your feet. Holy shit, that was close! Good thing you went into emergency mode. And be honest, you didn’t really need them groceries, did ya? Goddamn! Look at how flat that bus made everything; imagine a flank steak with tread marks. And might that just possibly be potato juice on the ground?
Handle with Care
Now, one more thing about car entry: my car has got one of them tricky kinda door handles that’re recessed a little bit into the door itself. You know the ones I mean? Where your fingers actually go in a little bit, past the surface of the car, till you grab ahold of the handle? Don’t ya like them? I do. That’s why they don’t make ’em anymore. They found out I like ’em. That’s the way it is with everything. They find out I like it, they stop makin’ it.
Open and Shut Case
Anyway, back to my car. I also got me one of them doors that when you open it, it swings a-a-a-all the way open. You know the kind I mean? A-A-A-All the way open; perpendicular to the car. I ain’t got one of them fancy doors that hangs out there halfway and stays where you want it to. With my door, we got two things, open and shut. Pick one.
And if I should be tryin’ to do somethin’ really tricky, like get into the car? Well, in a case like that I gotta prop the door open with a broom handle. ’Cause otherwise, sure as hell, soon as I’m halfway in, that door’s gonna swing back hard as it can and sever my leg just below the knee.
God! That shit hurts for about a year and a half, don’t it? And them huge, purple blotches? Seems like they never go away.
An Up Front Guy
Now, I wanna mention one additional problem I have when I’m gettin’ into my car. Like I told ya, it’s kinda old, and upkeep has been minimal, so there’s another thing I gotta deal with. A long time ago, my driver’s seat got pushed way up forward on the runners about as far as it goes, and apparently it ain’t never comin’ back.
You see, what happened was, years ago, about thirty or forty of them little pop-top beer-can rings got wedged into the seat tracks, and now they’re all fused into one solid piece of metal, and that fuckin’ seat ain’t never gonna move again. Unless, of course, there’s an atomic attack, in which case it probably ain’t gonna budge more than an inch or two.
So, because of all this unintentional seat redesign, when I get into full drivin’ mode, I’m pretty much hangin’ out right behind the radiator. In fact, if I wanna check my speedo, I gotta look straight down into my crotch. But, hey! At least I’m in the car.
But maybe you’re not! Maybe I oughta mention one more common car reentry problem: I know that some of you fainthearted folks like to play it safe by parkin’ right in the mall parking lot. And, of course when you park the car, you do so in such a manner that leaves you full access to the door. But while you’re in the mall chargin’ all that worthless merchandise, some asshole parks right next to you, leaves about six inches between cars, and now you can’t get your door open more than three or four degrees at best.
So, in order to gain access, you gotta try to wedge yourself through a tiny little crack, while balancing six gift-wrapped packages, all the time maintaining the integrity of a lit cigarette hangin’ off your lip. Besides which, your own particular lumbar spine is not the best one God ever put together, and everybody knows that even a proper back is not made for gettin’ into a car under circumstances such as these.
And, by the way, as most men know, tryin’ to squeeze into a car in that manner also creates a potential for serious ball-injury from the steering wheel. Many’s the family-planning program that’s gone out the window due to poor parking. Solution: Always park way down at the far end of the lot, where the homeless people live. Your back and your balls will thank you. And the walk’ll do ya good.
Anyway, at this point I think we’re all in the car, so now I’ll just reach over here and . . . I’ll just reach over here and . . . awww, shit! Goddamn door is still wide open. Well, maybe if I lean wa-a-ay out, and stretch my arm as far as it’ll go; maybe without actually getting up, I can just reach out and . . . uuuuuhhhnnggh! Fuck it! It appears, folks, that today we’re gonna be driving with the door wide open. What the heck, it’s a lovely day, and they say an open driver’s door actually helps you a little bit on left-hand turns. Acts like a rudder, increasing the drag factor on the port side.
Idiots and Maniacs
Okay, now we’re gonna be takin’ our little drive in just a minute or two, but first a philosophical question: Have you ever noticed that when you’re drivin’, anyone goin’ slower than you is an idiot? And anyone goin’ faster than you is a maniac?
“Will you look at this idiot!” [points right] “Look at him! Just creepin’ along!” [swings head left] “Holy shit!! Look at that maniac go!”
Why, I tell ya, folks, it’s a wonder we ever get anywhere at all these days, what with all the idiots and maniacs out there. Because no one ever drives at my speed.
Actually, I don’t let people drive at my speed. If I see some guy in the next lane keepin’ pace with me, I slow down. I let that asshole get a little bit ahead, so I can keep an eye on him. I like to know who I’m drivin’ near. In fact, quite often at a red light I’ll ask for personal references. You can never be too careful.
Okay. Now, a few basic points about driving. One of the first things they teach you in Driver’s Ed is where to put your hands on the steering wheel. They tell you put ’em at ten o’clock and two o’clock. Never mind that. I put mine at 9:45 and 2:17. Gives me an extra half hour to get where I’m goin’.
Some Things Break Easy
Now, most drivers know that some things that happen in the car can cause great embarrassment. I’ve never done any of these things myself, of course, but I’m sure you’ll recognize a few of them. Here’s a good example: you ever been driving someone else’s car, and for some reason they’re in the car, too? You know what I mean? Let’s say they got pushed off the balcony of a crack house and broke both their ankles, and they can’t drive, so you’re takin’ them out to buy some crack? You’re drivin’ their car? But you’re used to driving your car. And their gear shift handle is mounted on the opposite side from where yours is, and suddenly you go to shift gears and [CRACK!] break their fuckin’ turn signal off! Just break it clean off the steering column!
“Holy shit, came right off, didn’t it? God damn! You’ll have to get a new one of them! Here, throw this old one out the window! It ain’t no good to ya now. Shit, that broke easy, didn’t it?”
Some things break easy. Just break right off. Like radio dials. The old kind, the knob kind. Damn, those things were fragile. You’d be drivin’ along just tryin’ to tune in somethin’ on the radio. Tryin’ to find some kinda music you could actually tolerate. And you’d just keep turnin’ and turnin’ and turnin’ that dial, until finally you got way over onto the right-hand side of the dashboard and ran clean outta radio stations, and then . . . CRACK!!!
“Holy shit, came right off, didn’t it? God damn! Gotta throw that mother away! Gimme a fresh one outta that little bag, would ya? I got about fifty of those motherfuckers. Damn, they break easy!”
So you stick a new knob onto the radio and keep turnin’ and turnin’ and turnin’, until finally you wind up past the glove compartment listenin’ to some radio station located over near the right-hand mirror. Damn. Some things break easy.
It’s Your Car, Have a Little Fun!
I’m a great believer in using every piece of equipment on the car. Every feature, every option, even if you don’t need it. Fuck it, you paid for the car, use everything!
Use the sun visor. Even on a cloudy day. Flip it up, flip it down; flip it over to the side like the French people do. Lower the passenger’s visor, even if no one is sitting there. Open the ashtray, push in the lighter; who cares if you don’t smoke? Turn all the knobs, press all the buttons. Have a lot of fun. Change the mirrors all around. Press the trunk release. Pop the hood open. Put your seat in a ridiculous position. Lower all the windows. Stick out your hand. Tell the other drivers to slow down. You have power. Use hand signals. Tell them to slow down. And then tell them to stop.
Then let one guy go. Only one.
“Okay, you can go. Go! Go! Go! No, not you! Just him! Okay, now you! Go! Go!”
You have power. Use it. Fuck it. You’re makin’ the car payments, have a little fun.
? HYPERLINK “file:///E:\\Documents%20and%20Settings\\Dom\\Desktop\\1791_NapalmSillyPutty%5B1%5D\\Napalm_body-contents.html” \l “TOC-4” ??EAT A BOX OF COOKIES ?
Did you ever eat a whole box of cookies right in a row? Did you ever do that? I don’t mean take them into your bedroom or something. I mean open them right up in the kitchen as soon as you get home from the store and eat ’em while you’re standing there? Just stare at the toaster while you’re eatin’ a whole goddamn box of cookies? Did you ever do that? Isn’t it great?