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Here are my preliminary observations on George Carlin’s famous book, Brain Droppings which I received today: It’s written in a way that makes each of the eccentric, penetrating and irreverent observations of the author very accessible on demand. I’ve just opened randomly to page 122, and here’s what I see under the title, NAME IT AS IT IS:

“The words Fire Department make it sound that they’re the ones starting the fires, doesn’t it? It should be called the “Extinguishing Department.” We don’t call the police the “Crime Department.” Also, the “Bomb Squad” sounds like a terrorist gang. The same is true for wrinkle cream. Doesn’t it sound like it causes wrinkles? And why would a doctor prescribe pain pills? I already have pain! I need relief pills!”

Classic Carlin! There are very many other topics and short sub-headings of this kind in the book where George Carlin takes on the many issues on religion, language, and almost everything under the sun. The comedian always had a fascinating take on the English language particularly, and its many inherent contradictions as a critical part of his act, which made me believe that if only he had talent for playwriting instead, he might have become another George Bernard Shaw who – being also Irish – also pushed the boundaries of acceptability, questioned dogmas and poked fun at the use of language.

These new books from Amazon are going to be my new companions for the next couple of days, rather than the very many stations on American television. On that, I should say that I’ve never had so many stations to choose from whenever I sit down idly in the living room to watch television. A few other books littering my room at the moment are Larry King’s My Remarkable Journey, Nancy Friday’s Woman on Top, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Igoni Barett’s From the Cave of Rotten Teeth, Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard, VS Naipaul’s Miguel Street and The Mystic Masseur, and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus which I never seemed to be able to read beyond the first page, quite unexplainably (little wonder that her Half of A Yellow Sun is my favourite of her works.)

I’ve always loved receiving packages in the mail, especially ones with my name on them – even if it’s not correctly spelt. When I got one today from UPS, the dispatcher looked at my last name again, she remarked, “How on earth do you pronounce your last name?” Then she went online immediately afterwards, and recorded my name as OLATABUSUN! Well, I should have paid more attention to her uncomfortable whimper while I tried to pronounce it to her! No, I won’t be changing the spelling of my last name anytime soon. Not before the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger changes his; and his name is longer than mine.

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3 thoughts on “On Mail, Books and Names

  1. TV: I’m waiting impatiently for Season 8 of 24. If you like the show, you’ll be lucky to see it first hand when it starts airing in January. I probably have to wait a few weeks before Amazon can help me there.

    Books: Have you read “The Vanished Man” by Jeffrey Deaver? That is one of my favourites.

    Name: lol! And you thought it was annoying when some overzealous people in Nigeria were always calling you OlatuNbosun! The struggle continues…

  2. lol @ Bola!
    I’ve also had my name murdered a few times in the past, from Yimi to Yami. A German friend of mine one complained that as soon as he thought he had mastered my last name, I got married and changed it to another complicated one 🙂

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