An American Original


Sam Kinison died almost a million dollars in the hole. He stuck the IRS with $500K and a film company with another $200K for a shitty movie about an Eskimo. He stuck American Express with a $150K.

He was a pedal to the floor man. Despite the wildness, his death was a freak accident. He was going about 25 mile per hour when a truck barreled into him on the freeway. It was in the wrong lane. A shirtless teenager was driving. Kinison had been married for five days.

Kinison was my age when he died, 38. It wasn’t a rock n roll death. He had cleaned up a bit, but he wasn’t clean. He wasn’t at the top, but he was climbing back up. I guess you could say something about the timing of his death, Kinison did, his last words were said to sound like an argument with someone who wasn’t there. He asked “why now?” and said he didn’t want to die. He died on the side of the road with the kid who caused the wreck giving him CPR.

There were over 400 celebrities at his funeral. Many remarked he was such an original, he would always be remembered. But like us all, he will be forgotten. Just yesterday I was talking about him with a coworker who’s not even ten years younger than me. She had never head of Kinison. Celebrity is fickle and comedy, unlike music, doesn’t have a great shelf life.

The world will have every standing stone turned on its side before it’s done with all of us. The  sun will bathe our planet with radioactive fire on its own journey to the beyond. What will be left? Will some weird creature on a distant world even notice when all we have done is incinerated by the thing that gives pretty young people tans?

Like Sam, I don’t want to die either. But my joints and aches let me know I’m on the backend of this whole thing. I used to always be worried about figuring out something great to do before I die. But I think maybe I’ve found it in my small life with Mrs. Lott. I got to sit all morning reading books with one of our bad little dogs on my lap. I drove Mrs. Lott back from the airport last night and we laughed the whole ride home.




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