Until George Carlin’s death in June 2008, just about any unsourced list of wry or witty observations about politics and social mores eventually became credited to that late comedian as it passed from inbox to inbox, such as “Paradox of Our Time,” a ‘things were better in the good old days’ essay executed in the form of a comparison list, “I’m a Bad American,” a point-form essay advancing the cause of intolerance, “Hurricane Rules,” another point-form essay purporting to offer advice but in reality chiding the people of New Orleans for the alleged misdeeds of some who chose to attempt to ride out Hurricane Katrina instead of evacuating, “Gas Crisis Solution,” suggesting U.S. troops be brought home to catch illegal aliens to be shipped off to Iraq to fight in their place, “New Rules for 2006,” a list of behavior enjoinders for the new millennia, and “Views on Aging,” a collection of tips for coping with the prospect of growing older.
One attribute all the aforementioned essays share is that none of them was the work of George Carlin. Now added to that apocryphal collection is this lament on the death of common sense, a much-reproduced piece which circulates in many variations, typically with no attribution (or, as in this case, an incorrect one). This essay is actually the work of Lori Borgman and was first published in the Indianapolis Star on 15 March 1998. The version attributed to George Carlin above differs in a number of ways from Ms. Borgman’s original.