Wednesday, October 10, 2007

John Lennon and Role Models

I was driving #3 son's car home from the airport, when that Beatles song came on, the one that tops off the first side of Abbey Road-- I Want You. The song runs about 7 minutes , then ends abruptly.

Like John Lennon's life.

You and I were just talking about Britney and the other celebs, and how much we prefer to hear about them than to watch wars and other serious things on teev, when I had this idea for a parenting post. One of the goals of parenting (I think) is to establish a home where children learn about life and how to live it well, primarily by example, and still enjoy their time, enjoy being with these people, their parents, their role models.

And perhaps that's what all the star gazing is about. We want to spend time with these attractive, seemingly interesting, fun, successful people who can teach us about life. It's certainly why we choose our peers. We assimilate new data about life from others.

But back to our story.

FD and I needed to drive #3 son's car, the Ford, to the airport to pick up our car, the cliche' beater, the Olds. Obie Wan had parked the Olds at the airport for a couple of reasons: (a) the cost at remote parking is a fraction of a cab ride, and (b) the cabby might be late or forget the car seat.

So we were off to retrieve the Olds which has seen a lot of abuse lately. The kids in the neighborhood stole the lug nuts last week, we're not even sure which day. But when FD pulled away from the curb on Sunday, the tire pulled away from the car.

What a surprise. Great way to start the day and SO funny, obviously.

His friend cheered him up with a dirty joke that I'll share. No, I generally don't tell dirty jokes or even listen to them, but there are exceptions to everything. BK told him that we had better get a hubcap for that tire or risk arrest. (The hubcap is gone now several months. It was the replacement hubcap from a previous theft).

Why would we be arrested for no hubcap?

Exposed lug nuts, of course, replied BK. (Did I tell that so badly?).

Moving right along, last night we hurried to pick up the Olds at the airport. We were carping a bit at one another, not our usual fashion, but neither of us needs to be rushed to get somewhere at the end of a long day, and FD was in a hurry. I dropped him off at Remote Parking Lot F, where he managed to retrieve the car but only after playing Scavenger Hunt for the parking stub.

You need the ticket and $9.00 to get out of the lot. Not unlike the dry cleaner's. Soon we'll need a computer chip embedded into our skin to prove that we are who we say we are.

FD took the Olds home and I drove the Ford. We had special time, me and the Ford. I kicked up the radio after returning 7000 calls, but had trouble punching in a station to my liking. #3 and I have different tastes in music. Eventually I found 97.1 and wouldn't you know, I Want You, that last cut on the Beatle's album had just begun.

May as well turn off the phone. Can't hear both.

I flashed back to when Abbey Road came out, how my older brother had brought it home, all excited, to show me. We still had phonographs in those days. Imagine the scene, how he exclaimed,
This is an amazing album. You're going to like this more than Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band!
Well, I worshiped my brother (O"B"S-- he should have risen up in peace, by now) . So, Of course this transcended a bad day.

But honestly, I never liked the song, never liked the repetition or the He's So Heavy business. Maxwell's Silver Hammer was more to my liking, and Julia.

And the Blackbird song and the Goodnight Song. I know, these were probably on different albums, I'm guessing the White Album. All of my kids fell asleep to the Goodnight Song, and I understand that my grandsons did, too. Could Empath Daught have actually remembered? Seems unlikely, but she sang them the Goodnight Song. I heard her.

Having a choice between I Want You, however, or some horrid heavy metal stuff, I chose The Beatles. And as I listened it occurred to me that John Lennon had really been senselessly assassinated, murdered by a madman, ostensibly a fan.

He could have died in any number of ways. He didn't live "safe." He was not a great role model. Wonderful artist, but certainly he used drugs and glorified them in music.

Then Mark David Chapman killed him.

Last week an angry blogger asked, "Where is Mark David Chapman when you really need him?" I thought, What an idiot! No matter how strongly we disagree with someone's politics or way of thinking, we have no right to even think it is a good idea to have him killed.

On the other hand, if someone had killed Hitler. . .

This is why moralizing is something for the philosophers, rabbis and priests. Anyway, today John Lennon would have been 67 years old. As I listened to the whole cut again, I have to tell you. I loved it. From beginning to end, it was wonderful. An amazing piece of music. Tastes change.

And the lug nuts? There's more to the story. FD sped ahead to shul and #3 son took me in his car to get my car back. FD would walk from there.

When 3 spotted the Olds in the parking lot he sighed said, Uh Mom, I hate to tell you this, but I think you're missing 2 of your lug nuts on the front passenger side of the car.

Crud. (this is an expletive from my youth).

I took the car to the nearest Auto Zone to learn that indeed, this is what the kids do these days. WEEKS BEFORE HALLOWEEN. ARE WE IN FOR SOME FUN in the next few weeks, or what?

You can't keep lug nuts in stock, the clerk told me. I was lucky to score six of them for the Olds.. A smiley woman at the register saw me looking over the pepper spray. I told her I couldn't see myself ever using it on anybody.

"Or using it on a dog!" she cried. "I love animals so much. I wish they had a different item at the register, and I have something in mind."


"Well, we have a new product. It's not expensive, either. It's a whistle that repels deer from the highway."

I WANT IT! I cried.

"You're joking."

No, FOR SURE I want it.

So now I have 6 new lug nuts and 2 deer whistles, and apparently can't be trusted in an Auto Zone. But it had been an interesting evening, I thought, noting the car vandalism, and remembering that we lost John Lennon who would have been 67 yesterday, who died for what?

When I got home FD told me that Obie Wan had called to tell us that he and his beautiful Rac and our granddaughter arrived safely in New York. Rac's uncle, still not doing well, is resting and the family is watching, waiting. That's why the kids went to the airport, that's why they left the car in a hurry.

Obie tells the following story. Rac's uncle spent the last five years of his life with an illness that weakened him, paralyzed him. Yet he used his remaining time to raise money for charity.

It's the kind of thing that you don't hear about very often. Then Obie told us this. I'm repeating it here to illustrate what it means to live a truly heroic life, to be psychologically sound, strong, and happy to the end.

Rac's father, together with the legendary Uncle M. enjoyed the following conversation:
Rac Dad (bedside): So, bro? Tell me. Are you comfortable?

Rac's Uncle M without skipping a beat: I make a living.
Can you imagine keeping your sense of humor like that? Staring death in the eye and making other people laugh? Say yes, you can.



Anonymous said...

From lug nuts, to Halloween, to the Beatles, to dying and making a living... This was a good one.
Mahalo and aloha,

therapydoc said...

That's what happens when I get in a car. All over the map.

Guilty Secret said...

Ha ha I remember 'crud' as an expletive. What happened to that?

And to your last line: I really hope I can.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I've had therapy every time I come over here. Thank you.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts