George had a history of heart disease. In his own words:
Q. Somewhere in there I was reminded of the bit on your Web site where you talk about your second heart attack at Dodger Stadium. And somewhere in there you say, "The Mets beat the Dodgers. Fuck the Dodgers." I was thinking, "That's a New Yorker."
Carlin: Yeah, they tore a hole out of this city when they left. I was a young Dodger fan at that time. I was in my late teens, approaching 20. I had spent all of my young life adoring them for their non-corporate image and their warm, human, fallible, blue collar, beer-drinking image, whereas the Yankees were U.S. Steel corporate and the account executives and Wall Street guys were there. Now that has switched. Now the Mets, who were my National League choice, have that kind of suburban following, and the Yankees have the pot-smoking Third-World people in the stands. It's a little generalization on both sides, but for the most part, there's some truth in it. They've traded places.
Q. Speaking of the heart attack, what do you learn from three heart attacks?
Carlin: You learn a lot about heart disease, or rather coronary artery disease. I never had any profound wake-up call, and it didn't scare me. The thing about a heart attack is that once the discomfort in your chest is over, once they've aborted the heart attack, and you live through it, there's no more discomfort. You feel fine. You're the same as before the heart attack. You don't feel weak. You don't feel hurt. You're not sore anywhere. You just lie there and say, "OK, I'll eat better and I'll exercise. When can I go home?"
It wasn't such a crippling heart attack that I had a bad rehab; I just had to take it easy. They did do an angioplasty, but I've had six angioplasties. I'm usually at work the next weekend. I'm definitely out of the hospital the next day. It's hard to take it all very seriously. It's plumbing. It's really mechanical. I know there's a disease process at work, but you get in and clean it. Everything I've ever had could be fixed: a hernia , a bad knee, they scrape that shit out of your arteries. I never had an organic disease/function where things are changing and getting weirder. I've always just had mechanical plumbing shit and carpentry.
I'm a very positive person. I'm optimistic about my own life and the people who are close to me, yet I'm not that way about the world. That optimism takes me through the illnesses when I had them. That's really the only stuff I had, that and allergies. That stuff about my immune system from swimming in the Hudson -- it strengthened my immune system. It's tempered in raw shit. I'm lucky, I've got a great genetic package.