Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: An Insurance Connection

Over 25 years ago, my first job in the insurance biz was as an agent with one of the few remaining "debit" companies.
[ed: many years ago, a lot of companies sold (relatively small) policies with premiums collected weekly. Agents were assigned a territory, or "debit," from which to collect and, hopefully, make new sales. I'm not aware of any carriers which still do this, although one might argue that payroll deduction, or "worksite marketing," plans are the natural evolution of this market]
My debit included a relatively affluent area, and a high-rise apartment building wherein lived a number of retirees. One evening, as I sat in the apartment of one such couple, they asked me if I enjoyed stand-up comedy. I replied that I did, and they told me that their daughter was married to a stand-up comedian, and perhaps I'd heard of him. At the time, HBO had a series of "specials" highlighting new talent, and I thought that maybe they'd mention one that I'd seen. So I innocently asked "which one?" The lady of the house replied almost apologetically (perhaps thinking that I'd never heard of her son-in-law), "well, our daughter is married to a comic named George Carlin. Have you ever heard of him?"
Of course, my jaw nearly broke as it hit the floor. Had I ever heard of George Carlin?! I'd basically grown up (so to speak) on his humor. I had had no idea that there was a hometown connection, let alone that I'd be sitting in his in-laws' living room. Mrs Hosbrook asked if I'd like one of his albums (they had "a few" laying around), and I said "oh, sure!" It turned out to be an autographed copy of (if I recall correctly) "Class Clown." What a treasure!
I left that carrier some 24 years ago, and lost touch with the delightful couple. But I never parted with the album (although I currently have no turntable on which to play it), and always felt a connection (feeble though it may have been) with the comic legend.
G'bye, Al Sleet and company!
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