Well, Ya Gotta Live Someplace
by George Carlin
I grew up in
and lived there until I was thirty. New York City
At the time, I decided I’d had enough of life in a dynamic, sophisticated city, so I moved to
Actually, I moved there because of the time difference. I was behind in my
work, and wanted to pick up the extra three hours. Technically, for the last
thirty years I’ve been living in my own past. Los Angeles
I knew I didn’t want to move to the
could never live in a place where the outstanding geographic feature is the
horizon. The Midwest seems like a nice place
to catch up on your sleep.
Another reason I could never live in the
that it gets really cold there. You’ve heard of hypothermia and exposure? I
could never be comfortable in a place where you can die simply by going out to
the mailbox. Living in an area where an open window can cause death seems
foolish to me.
Of course, living in the South was never an option – the main problem being they have too much respect for authority; they’re soldier-sniffers and cop lovers. I don’t respect that, and I could never live with it. There’s also way too much religion in the South to be consistent with good mental health.
Still, I love traveling down there, especially when I’m in the mood for a quick trip to the thirteenth century. I’m not someone who buys all that “New South” #*$@ you hear; I judge a place by the number of lynchings they’ve had, over-all.
Atlanta even found it necessary to come up with an
apologetic civic slogan: :
The City Too Busy to Hate. I think they’re trying to tell us something. Atlanta
There’s also the communications problem. I have trouble understanding Southerners. Some of them sound like they’re chewing on a *@#!. And I really have nothing against them individually; one by one they can be quite charming. But when you take them as a whole, there is some really dangerous genetic material floating around down there.
So, I live in
and it’s kind of a goofy place. They have an airport named after John Wayne.
That oughtta explain it. It has a charming kind of superstitious innocence. Los Angeles
But if you really want to understand life in
forget the grief clinics and yogaholics. Forget biofeedback, Feldenkrais,
neurolinguistic programming, and the Alexander technique. California
Disregard spirit guides, centering groups, dream workshops, bioenergetics, pyramid energy, and primal therapy.
Ignore centering, fasting, Rolfing, grounding, channeling, rebirthing, nurturing, self-parenting, and colon cleansing.
And don’t even think about polarity work, inversion swings, flower essences, guided synchronicity, harmonic brain wave synergy, and psychocalisthenics.
You also need pay no attention to nude volleyball, spinach therapy, white wine hot tubs, jogging on hot coals, and the people who sing Christmas carols to zoo animals.
Forget all that. The only thing you have to know about
is this: They have traffic school
for chocoholics. California
The problem most New Yorkers have with
is that it is fragmented and lacks a vital
center. The people have no common experience. Instead, they exude a kind of
bemused detachment that renders them intensely uninteresting. The West Coast
experience is soft and peripheral, Los
Angeles is hard and concentrated. New
York is a small woman saying, “Fuck
is a large man saying, “Fuck you!” New York
Still, I live in
But I’m not “laid-back,” and I’m certainly not “mellow.” I associate those
qualities with the comatose. The solar system wasn’t formed because matter was
laid-back; life didn’t arise from the oceans and humans descend from the trees
because DNA was mellow. It happened because of something called energy. California
Most outsiders can’t handle
so they wind up back in Big Loins Arkansas, badmouthing The City for the rest
of their lives. Actually, most of the people who run New York down have never been there. And if
they ever went, we would destroy them in nine minutes. People hate New York , because that’s
where the action is, and they know it’s passing them by. Most of the decisions
that control people’s lives are made in New York . Not in New
York City , not on Washington Pennsylvania Avenue. In ! Madison Avenue and Wall
Street. People can’t handle that. Pisses ’em off. #*$@ ’em! New York City
And I’m really glad the Yankees humiliated the Braves in the World Series. I’m glad the gritty, tough, Third-World, streetwise
culture triumphed over the soft, suburban, wholesome, white-Christian, tacky
mall culture of .
Overgrown small towns like Atlanta
have no business in the major leagues in the first place. Atlanta
L.A. versus New York:
I have now lived half my life in each of ’s two most hated, feared,
and envied cities, and you want to know something? There’s no comparison. New
York even has a better class of assholes. Even the lames in America have a certain appealing, dangerous
quality. New York
As an example of how hopeless
is, when I first got there, a policeman gave me a ticket for jaywalking. You
have to understand the kind of people who live in California . They are willing to stand,
passive and inert, on a curb, when absolutely no traffic is coming, or maybe
just a little traffic that could easily be dodged. They simply stand there
obediently and wait for an electric light to give them permission to proceed. I
couldn’t believe this cop. I laughed at him. The ticket cost me about twenty
dollars in 1966. Since that time, I figure I have jaywalked an additional
thousand times or so without being caught. #*$@ that lame-ass cop! I’ve managed
to prorate that ticket down to about two cents a jaywalk. California
One thing I find appealing in
is the emphasis on driving. I like to drive, I’m skillful at it, and I do it
aggressively. And I don’t mean I scream at people or flash them the finger. I
simply go about my passage swiftly and silently, with a certain deliberate,
dark efficiency. In the land of the unassertive, the aggressive man is king. California
Of course, in
everything is based on driving, even the killings. In Los Angeles , most people don’t have cars, so if
you want to kill a person, you have to take the subway to their house. And
sometimes on the way, the train is delayed and you get impatient, so you have
to kill someone on the subway. That’s why there are so many subway murders; no
one has a car. Basically, if more people in New York had cars, the subways would be a
lot safer. New York
I hope you can tell, the Apple is still number one in my heart. I’m so chauvinistic, I even root for
New York to
raise more money than
on the Arthritis Telethon. And we usually do. Los Angeles
Because the sun goes down a block from my house.