Top 5 Fun Thoughts About Words

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, maybe not but they can sure make you laugh. We may be so accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of our English language that we never noticed that it’s filled with contradictions, oxymorons, and pure head-scratchers.

One of the most insightful people about the craziness of “words” was George Carlin, the comedian.  Mostly known by a younger generation for his best-selling album, “7 Words You Can’t Say on TV,” his comedy found humor and absurdity in how we communicate.

What was George Carlin’s fascination with words?

“I tell ya, if I hadn’t chosen the career of being a performer, I think linguistics would have been a natural area that I’d have loved – to teach it, probably, language has always fascinated me. There’s a genetic inheritance there, a good language gene, which I inherited [from my mother and grandfather] and she fostered that in me as he fostered that in her.”

As he once said, “Language is a tool for concealing the truth. If we could read each other’s minds, this would be a horror show.”

ThinkFives scoured the many comedy routines of George Carlin to find these insights that will make you laugh and wonder.

Head Scratchers

Head Scratchers

  • “If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”
  • “What if there were no hypothetical questions?”
  • “How is it possible to have a civil war?”
  • “My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is.”
  • “I will tell you one thing – the future, ain’t what it used to be.”
  • “Legally Drunk. What’s the problem!? Hey! Leave my friend alone, officer, he’s legally drunk!”

Too True to Be True

  • “Think of how stupid the average person is and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
  • “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do ‘practice?’”
  • “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
  • “Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.”
  • “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”
Too True to Be True

I Never Thought of That

I Never Thought of That

  • “I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.”
  • “One can never know for sure what a deserted area can look like.”
  • “I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.”
  • “One nice thing about egotists: they don’t talk about other people.”
  • “I wanna buy a hot water heater. What’s for? Hot water doesn’t need to be heated. What you really want is a cold water heater.”
  • “Jumbo shrimp. What does that mean? Is it a large shrimp or a little jumbo?”

That’s a Good Question

  • “Is a vegetarian permitted to eat animal crackers?”
  • “If the black box flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn’t the whole airplane made out of that stuff?”
  • “Well, if crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?”
  • “What year did Jesus think it was?”
  • “If no one knows when a person is going to die, how can we say he died prematurely?”
  • “If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?”
  • “If a safe is unlocked, is it still a safe?”

That’s a Good Question
Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

  • “They say we have a nonstop flight. I insist that my flight stop. Preferably at the end of an airport.”
  • “The airline tells me, get on the plane. I say I’m getting IN the plane! Evel Knievel can get ON the plane. There seems to be less wind in here!”
  • “Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”
  • “The safest place to be during an earthquake would be in a stationary store.”
  • “Why do we say when two planes almost collide it’s a near miss. It’s a near hit.”
  • “I’m not afraid of heights, I’m just afraid of falling from them.”

Bonus Thoughts

From George Carlin: When Did We Change These Words???

“Sometime during my life toilet paper became bathroom tissue

  • “Sneakers became running shoes”
  • “False teeth became dental appliance
  • “Medicine became medication
  • “Information became directory assistance
  • “The dump became the landfill
  • “Car crashes became automobile accidents
  • “Partly cloudy became partly sunny
  • “Motels became motor lodges
  • “House trailers became mobile homes
  • “Used cars became previously owned transportation.”
  • “Room service became guest room dining
  • “Constipation became occasional irregularity
  • “The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore. They neutralize people”
  • “The government doesn’t lie. It engages in misinformation


Brain Droppings by George Carlin

Last Words by George Carlin


What do you THINK?

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