Loose and a little wanton

George Carlin reruns on the tube. He’s not so high strung yet, still doing the stoned schtick. The hippie dippy weatherman routine hasn’t aged well, but the rest has. Reminds me how my wife Fyl saw George Carlin get busted at an outdoor gig in Milwaukee for doing his dirty words bit. That was in 1972. Fyl was sixteen, a bad girl, sassy and curvy, smoking a joint with a couple of hippies she’d never met before. But they were cool, she was cute, and they had grass. They’d rolled it in an American flag rolling paper, hippie chic in Nixon’s America in ’72. Carlin began his bit about the seven dirty words you can’t say on television and rattled them off, fuck etc, and out came Milwaukee’s finest. Well, Milwaukee’s finest was a beer. Out came the Milwaukee cops. Cuffed him right on stage. Fuck the Pigs one of the hippies said. Yeah, fuck the pigs she said. She told me this story probably right after we met a lifetime ago, and it crystallized into permanence in my memory so vividly I was there. I can smell the weed, feel the paranoia, feel the breeze coming off the lake. She’d be wearing low slung jeans, flared, and a tight rock’n’roll tee shirt her mom hated, reveling in all this freedom and excitement, smoking pot with hippies. Every freak in Milwaukee was there digging George Carlin and he gets busted. Something to talk about in the rock’n’roll bars on Brady Street that night, George Carlin and the Man and revolution. She snuck into those too. Milwaukee was loose in those days, loose and a little wanton. Innocent girls turned bad, hung out with hippies and a little later morphed into punk rockers. Ahh, the seventies.

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