Like all sensible people, I’m a huge fan of George Carlin. I regard him as the very best stand-up comedian, ever. Not only are his routines funny and insightful, but they are delivered so skillfully that you can learn a lot about good public speaking simply by studying his technique. I often tell people that Carlin (and Robin Williams) had a far greater impact on my teaching style than any math ed. specialist ever did. After all, stand-up comedians have to command an audience’s attention for up to an hour at a time using only their words and their mannerisms. That’s pretty much what math professors have to do!
I recently purchased Carlin’s album “Life is Worth Losing.” The album opens with a routine called “I’m a Modern Man.” I was so impressed by it, I was going to transcribe every word. But then I found that it’s already available online. I’ve reproduced the whole thing below the fold. Of course, it’s even better if you picture George Carlin saying it in his typical rapid-fire way.
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium, digital and smoke-free, a diversified multi-cultural post-modern deconstructionist, politcally, anatomically, and ecologically incorrect.
I’ve been uplinked and downloaded, I’ve been inputed and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech lowlife, a state-of-the-art bi-coastal multitasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.
I’m new wave, but I’m old school, and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat-seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice-activated and biodegradeble. I interface with my database, and my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive, and from time to time, I’m radioactive.
Behind the 8-ball, ahead of the curve, riding the wave, dodging the bullet, pushing the envelope. I’m on point, on task, on message, and off drugs. I got no need for coke and speed. I have no urge to binge and purge. I’m in the moment, on the edge, over the top, but under the radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistics missionary. A street-wise smart bomb, a top-gun bottom-feeder.
I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, I run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing bigfoot slamdunk rainmaker with a proactive outreach. A raging workaholic, a working rageaholic, out of rehab and in denial. I got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant, and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up, you can’t dumb me down, ’cause I’m tireless, and I’m wireless. I’m an alpha male on beta blockers.
I’m a non-believer and an overachiever, laid back, but fashion forward, up front, down home, low rent, high maintenance; super size, long lasting, high definition, fast acting, oven ready, and built to last. I’m a hands-on, footloose, kneejerk headcase, prematurly post-traumatic, and I have a love child who sends me hate mail.
But I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing, a supportive, bonding, nurturing, primary caregiver. My output is down, but my income is up. I take a short position on a long bond, and my revenue stream has its own cash flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports. I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user friendly, and lactose intolerant.
I like rough sex, I like tough love, I use the F-word in my e-mails, and the software on my hard drive is hardcore, no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a minimall, I bought a minivan at a megastore, I eat fast food in the slow lane. I’m tollfree, bite size, ready to wear, and I come in all sizes. A fully equipped, factory authorized, hospital tested, clinically proven, scientifically formulated medical miracle.
I’ve been prewashed, precooked, preheated, prescreened, preapproved, postdated, freeze dried, double wrapped, vacuum packed, and I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal, lean and mean, cocked, locked, and ready to rock; rough, tough, and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide, I got glide in my stride. Drivin’ and movin’, sailin’ and spinin’, jivin’ and groovin’, wailin’ and winnin’. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hardy, and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin’ in, there ain’t no doubt, and I’m hangin’ tough, over and out.”