Imagine Today




In case you haven’t yet noticed, people are celebrating what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. He was born during an air raid in Liverpool England, October 9, 1940, and was killed by a crazed fan on the night of December 8th, 1980. What would John have looked like today? I wonder sometimes. He was worried about going bald, and I think he probably would be thin up on top, perhaps he’d just comb it back in a nice dapper style. He’d probably wear a lot of hats. He’d like the internet because of its instant quality of delivering the news all through the day—John was a purported news junkie, both the good and the bad. He would love iPods. He would hate most modern music, but dig some beats in a few of the songs out there. He liked reggae so whatever might be hanging around, not a very active genre these days, he’d seek out. I think he would be writing books, creating art, speaking out about the environment and our battles in the Mideast. He’d tell us to go ahead and build the damn mosque near the Trade Center, because there’s a whore house just down the street and denying religious freedom is a very hypocritical, non-Jesus thing to do. Work on the mosque inside yerself, mate (sorry, I was channeling here).


Around the time of his death, John had spent around five years being a househusband—as he liked to call himself. He said he may not have bore Sean, but he was going to oversee all foods that went into his body and so as he grew, his health and well-being was from John’s strict, but loving parenting. Yoko said the man should take care of the children after birth, and she became busy with selling estates, talking to numerologists, psychics, stock traders, you name it. John became a literal shut-in those last few years, much like any housewife, only he was a Rock God and unlike any housewife, couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of a day out to refresh his energies. He was extremely paranoid about fans recognizing him, because they always wanted something: a touch, a signature, a button from his shirt, a lock of his hair—it would go on and John knew from experience that the more you gave, the more they wanted. So he hid. He sat up in his room and watched tv and read and smoked and sometimes got high, and he looked out over Central Park at the rest of the world in action. He fantasized about sex, sometimes beautiful, sometimes violent. His childhood memories of living with a promiscuous mother and absent father had caused him to have a skewed view of relationships. It wasn’t until Yoko came along that he was able to see women as more than just things to abuse; she showed him that women were powerful creatures; men had much to learn. Many people wonder why John stayed with Yoko when she was so cold. The truth is John Lennon was in a co-dependent relationship—it wasn’t healthy, he was alone much of those last few years of his life; he was controlled, it has been reported that she was cheating on him, spending his money, etc. But he needed her because she was the only thing on this earth that made him feel safe from himself. He loved her, and say what you will, she did a good job of keeping him in a constant state of self-awareness and internal growth.


Throughout his life, John made comparisons to himself and Jesus. He even tried to look like Jesus, sans the robe and jute sash. And I have to say, that although the rest of the world may find the idea insane, he had a point. Every word that John said was taken as gospel. Much like Ghandi and Martin Luther King—who also have been compared to Jesus—he spoke with the utmost of clarity, had the intense gift of making every word count, so that whatever he said would ring true for the eons of time. People still cling to his statements of peace and love, they look to his personal life for clues on how to live theirs, they still listen to his music to save them from their despair and show them how to embrace unity. And just like Jesus, John was persecuted for those very statements, because peace often attracts violence as a counteraction. We can’t handle peace, it requires too much and we have so little time to devote for such a high concept.


One of my favorite things about John was that he was always in a state of renewal. He continuously looked for faults and tried to fix them. One of his faults though was being transparent—it’s why we loved him, but it’s what killed him. Perhaps if he hadn’t spoken out about the war. Perhaps if he hadn’t made those comments about Jesus. Perhaps if he hadn’t said where he lived and what he loved and what he liked to do, on and on. Perhaps if he hadn’t written his songs so that each sounded as if it were a personal note to all who listened. Perhaps . . .


But that’s not how you live when you’re John Lennon. He gave everything with no feelings of remorse, and so it came to be, unfortunately, that one person felt it was his right to claim his life; make his death an anthem for their own. John and Yoko had been recording all evening. The day had been filled with photo-shoots and interviews for the recent release of Double Fantasy, and John was in a rush to get home and kiss his little boy good-night. Because, despite the cult-rock world he lived in where he could have had maids do it for him, he wanted to be the one who put his little boy to bed and wish him sweet dreams. Yoko stepped out of the car first, followed by John. There were no bodyguards as Yoko had continuously pushed off the request to be dealt with on a later date. Someone called John’s name—it was the young man who’d asked for an autograph hours earlier in the same spot outside the Dakota apartments. John turned and shots were fired. Seven shots in all, but only four penetrated his body, the first one fatal. He was taken to the hospital only to be announced dead shortly thereafter.


It’s what happens next that defines John Lennon, I think. All of a sudden people realized what they had, and what they would have no more. Even I, as a young girl standing on the upper steps of my childhood home, listened to the news with a heavy heart and shock. We knew, finally, with our own eyes and ears, that good men can be taken away and the rest of us must still go on. Knights fall.



Comments

  1. I love this picture of John. His eyes are so honest. Happy Birthday . . .

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  2. A beautiful tribute Amy. We Brits tend to forget how well loved John was throughout the world.

    He was indeed a Rock God. One of the few.

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  3. John Lennon is my age, born the same year I was! I remember him well. You have written a beautiful tribute here to him!! He was an interesting man that all of us can learn from. We are all mortal, so very mortal. But in the end the only thing that matters is what, in essence, you have said here. Yes, he was a Rock God, but in the end he was simply a man who loved his little boy. I think this speaks volumes.
    Ann

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  4. I'm glad you liked it. John Lennon will always be a huge part of my life, so to have a chance to write something about him makes me truly happy.

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  5. I think my favourite song of all time is John Lennon's 'Imagine' for me it says everything about who he was and what he stood for. It was sad that he had to needlessly die like that - apparently only because he was an easy target. I saw the Beatles live once when they performed at the Music Hall in Shrewsbury before they were famous.

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  6. I'm so jealous that you got to see them! Jealous, but happy for you. Please tell me all about it today or sometime when you have a moment. I'd love to hear what your experience was like!

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  7. I think that - today - John Lennon would be extremely embarrassed about a lot of the things he said and did, after he teamed up with that ghastly witch, Yoko Ono. He became extremely self indulgent and insecure about his past - all thanks to Yoko. She was a manipulative egomaniac, and probably still is. I saw her in action - in person - twice, and I didn't like what I saw. It was she who was obsessed with personal security, not Lennon. Also, don't forget that Lennon had an air-conditioned basement FULL of more fur coats than he could ever have worn in one life time.

    Lennon was only a genius in the context of the Beatles, not on his own, despite what he said in later years. He was a sick and disturbed man who attracted sick and disturbed people.

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  8. That may all be true, but something he did made sense to me at least. I suppose we could all be accused of having self-indulgent traits, or of being less than saint-like many times of our lives for one issue or the other. However, there's that old saying about being able to fool some people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time. I think this rings true for John. There are some who, especially a percentage of those with personal experience, would say he was a real bastard. And there are others who thought he was very kind; the epitome of a gentleman. I've read both. You can't fool all the people all of the time, and he couldn't. He had problems, he admitted this, but most of the manner in which he conducted himself was honest and toward the cause of peace. Ironically before his death, he donated money for New York Police to purchase bullet proof vests. He was a man of conflict, but mostly he lived what he preached. Some never try. In trying, he became that factor which is not failure, but honesty, truth, success.

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