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I guess I just like liking things

I know it doesn’t seem like it all the time, but I do plan posts ahead many times.  Sure, there are some “yikes, I better take a lunch break and get something written!” moments, but I often have an idea ahead of time, even if it isn’t written yet. And then there are times when I have ideas and am about to start writing when something else happens that makes me completely change my plans. Today is one of those times.

Last night, my wife bought us tickets to go see Bill Cosby in September.

Now, I’m a guy who tends to not get too excited about future things. I’ve seen too many plans change and things happen, so I’ve found it’s best to not get my hopes up until the thing I was looking forward to is actually happening. That might seem goofy to you, but it works out pretty well for me most of the time. [Side note: this is actually part of the reason I ended up seeing The Avengers twice on opening day. I had taken the day off work for my birthday and was planning to go see it that night with my wife, but she was all “well, let’s plan on it, but we’ll have to see how things go” and I’ve had that mean “we’re not going” enough that I decided to go to a noon showing just to be sure. But then she did end up being able to go, so I went again and didn’t even mind a little bit.]

But seeing Bill Cosby? The tickets have barely been printed and it’s four months out and I’m already giddy about it. There is a short list of entertainers that I want to see live and an even shorter list of entertainers that I’ve wanted to see live as far back as I can remember – really, there’s only one name on that list and it’s Bill Cosby. He’s actually been here in my home town a couple of times but it hasn’t worked out for me to go see him, so this is particularly exciting for me.

I don’t know how our family came to have a copy of To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With, but I do know I wore that thing out [Side note for the younger folk in the audience: this was back when things were on cassette tape and you could literally wear albums out] memorizing it. My brother (not named Russell) and I would quote bits to each other, and to this day there’s an occasional reference still.  I’d guess it was the popularity of this album in the family that led to us watching The Cosby Show together. We didn’t watch much TV as a family, so the five or six shows we did watch together were even more special than they might have been otherwise.

There’s just something special about The Cos, man. That tape was my first introduction to stand up comedy in any form, and I’ve since come to understand there’s no one quite like him. He wasn’t a joke teller, he was a storyteller, one with a way of telling those stories that no one even tried to match because it wouldn’t have made sense for them. All these years later, I can still remember his stories about Junior Barnes and Buck Buck and learning karate and giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, and it’s weird to me that I haven’t heard any of those stories in more than a decade – I mean, they seem so fresh in my memory that I must have just listened to them a few weeks ago, right?

I know now that his TV shows were groundbreaking, that his fame as a comic was initially unusual because of his race. I didn’t know any of that as a kid, all I knew is that I wanted to learn every word of all of his stories and tell them to other people, not so they would laugh at me, but so they could hear his stories and laugh with me at them. To this day, I still feel like I want to do that. I mean, I’ve learned that you don’t tell other people’s jokes and stories, of course, but I still want to be a storyteller like Bill Cosby is a storyteller. If you were to pin me down and force me to tell you my dreams, that would be at the top of the list.

Bill Cosby will turn 76 in July of this year. He’s still touring, still telling stories!  There are days when I can barely make the drive to work, and I can’t even imagine what I’ll be like in 35 years, and I can’t help but be awed, shamed, and a little inspired by Mr. Cosby. I can’t wait to see him in person.


Here’s the first part of that album, and if you follow the links after it, the rest of it’s there, too. Really, though, you should do what I did last night and get the album from Amazon.


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