"I had a vision of a way we could have no enemies ever again, if you're interested in this. Anybody interested in hearing this? It's kind of an interesting theory, and all we have to do is make one decisive act and we can rid the world of all our enemies at once. Here's what we do. You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense every year? Trillions of dollars. Instead, if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded ... not one ... we could as one race explore inner and outer space together in peace, forever." - Bill Hicks (1961-1994)
A number of you are currently Googling Bill. Who is this character, and why would he be quoted so extensively here on this blog? Bill Hicks is God. Okay, maybe not the God, but certainly a major deity in the pantheon of truth-telling and wisdom. And he was a comedian. A very funny guy. A very bitter and cynical funny guy. The fact that the arc of his life here on earth approximated my own: spent his youth building his sense of comedy, fell into a period of substance abuse, and came out the other side with a more profound vision of how the world might be.
He got paid for being funny. He chose to be a stand-up comedian, and he was very good at it. Comparisons to Lenny Bruce abounded. His last filmed performance was titled, "Revelations." It was taped less than a year before his death, and he seemed to have some things he wanted to get off his chest before he went: "The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly colored and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: Is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, 'Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride...' But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus - murdered; Martin Luther King - murdered; Malcolm X - murdered; Gandhi - murdered; John Lennon - murdered; Reagan... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want."
Nobody shot Bill. It wasn't the drugs. Pancreatic cancer got him. But his ideas are still out there. And that's a good thing.