Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remembrances: Working Class Hero

The is nothing I can write now, 30 years after the fact, that could even begin to measure the scope of our loss. So I am not even going to try.
I will, instead, let John Lennon have a say:

I didn’t hear about it until the next morning. On my way to the subway on E. 198th Street in the Bronx, I stopped in at the candy store on the corner to buy a pack of cigarettes. And there I saw the headlines on the tabloids.

In the job I had at the time, at a medical college on the upper eastside of Manhattan, I had occasion to be in contact with Dr. Stephen Lynn, the E.R. physician who tried, but was not able, to resuscitate John Lennon after he was shot and killed. This brought the whole thing closer to me than it might have been otherwise.

In addition to this connection was the circumstance that in the late summer or autumn of that year, as I was walking up Central Park West to meet my wife at the theater in the Park, I walked right by John and Yoko, who were standing in the street, hailing a cab. New York City is the biggest small town in the universe.

Rest in peace, John Lennon.



Mad said...

Yeah, at the time, I was a big young teen fan of Lennon. I was just old enough to remember that, prior to his shooting, most of his post-Beatles albums were in the cut-out bins in the record stores and how some of his former associates were calling him a wimp and sell-out for doing simple, human acts like (ironically) donating to the NYPD police to buy bullet proof vests.

I also remember the phony moral disgust that people displayed at the grocery store checkouts when they saw Annie Liebovitz's final photo of Lennon and Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone, yet seemed to have no problem with the photographer who broke into the NY morgue to take a picture of Lennon's dead body on a slab (cover of the National Enquirer). And people wonder why I grew up to be so crusty and cynical ...

Despite the hagiography, the real sadness is that a) Lennon was finally maturing as a human being and might have finally been a real father to his first son had he lived, b) His final recordings were only a glimpse of what he might have contributed. Compare his ability to laugh at himself and his life in the song, "I Don't Want to Face It" to the self-loathing of earlier songs like "Steel and Glass."

Mad said...

Bargain Lennon albums and junior high school disgust ... those were the days

Rodak said...

It is definitely a shame that he didn't get that chance to go on more fully to the next stage (literally and figuratively, I guess.) Thanks for dropping by.
Send more photos!

Mad said...

I have to leaf through my recent oeuvre, Rodak. I devolved into a little Lennon cynicism at one point in the class and merely took a picture of a dryer in my apartment building as I didn't think we were really going anywhere aesthetically or technically with the class. After giving an artistic justification, the instructor gave me a perfect score on the assignment. Every time I try to put one over on the artsy fartsy crowd they actually enjoy my submissions!

This kid reminds me so much of myself at his age, it hurts