The Master has died.
I hesitate to do a tribute to the man. Not for lack of love, but for the fear that I would ramble on incessantly about him.
But he himself was in love with words, and he passed that love onto me at an early age. Everyone today will be citing his most famous routine in the obits; the one that led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling. But instead of repeating the legendary seven, let me take an excerpt from the very beginning of this routine:
"There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are 7 of them you can't say on television. What a ratio. Three hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety three... to seven. They must really be bad. They must be outrageous... to be separated from a group that large. All of you over here, you seven... Baaaaaaaaaad words. And that's what we call them, right? 'That's a bad word!' Awww... No bad words. Bad thoughts, bad intentions, and words..."
I could wax poetic about language from this point, but I'll refrain. George said so many things that needed to be said about language and communication that I could never hope to measure up to. And when he receives his (posthumous) Mark Twain Prize for Humor this November, it's going to be one hell of a tribute to a man we were damned lucky to have as long as we did.