Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dead Letter Days (JL, JFK)

Recently the world (or the U.S., anyway) "celebrated" the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

"I am a jelly donut!" I toasted at one point during the November 22nd weekend ... not only refusing to "celebrate" death -- as we all tend to do, versus wallowing in it -- but also trying to be vaguely amusing while alluding to the wince-making "jelly doughnut misconception" which prevails, half a century later, in pieces of Germany.

Back in New York, there is today the annual celebration of a local, as much as a global, icon.  December 8th, 2013 "celebrates" the 33rd anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

While I missed having a memorable "Where were you when....?" JFK moment, I was alive, and do know where I was and what I was doing, when 'I heard the news that day (oh boy)' regarding JL.

I was watching a little football on Monday night ... which in 1980, was a treat.  Game days then were reserved for the weekend.  Football on Monday (plus at night!) meant I was going to be staying up 'late' -- usually well beyond my (unenforced) pre-teen "bedtime" of 10:30 -- and laughing with my parents at Howard Cosell.  This particular Monday night was no different.

Until, watching the Dolphins take on (and ultimately take) the Patriots, the blustering buffoon that comprised the persona -- the "Howard Cosell" (in quotes) brand, if you will -- became suddenly real.  Twice announcing that Lennon had been shot and killed, referring to it on-air as the "unspeakable tragedy" that it was ... and perhaps most sincere and heartfelt of all, reminding millions of us tuning in that night that in the Big Picture, what we were watching, what he was announcing, was "just a football game" ... Howard Cosell put the Big Picture back in perspective.

To be honest, my actual memory of Cosell's announcement is fuzzy.  I think I was in the bathroom ... or in the refrigerator ... or maybe I'd gone to bed already.  But the 'John Lennon dead' part ... 'John Lennon shot and killed' ... is the part that registered.  I remember then actually asking my parents, "Was John Lennon in the Beatles?" ... sort of confirming things for myself ... processing the weird and terrible news, delivered out of context that Monday night on a football broadcast, by a cartoonish sports icon who was clearly moved, clearly stunned ... a bereft and grieving fan himself.

There followed fifteen years or so of John Lennon being not only my 'favorite Beatle', but also sad, often inappropriate efforts on my part to infuse his spirit and a few of his reportedly defining qualities -- the cynicism, the sense of humor, a dry, often devastating wit and sharp tongue -- into my own thing ... whatever that was or I believed it to be.  I didn't outgrow my "John Lennon Phase" until I met and bedded Yoko Ono in the '90s.

Just kidding.

I still haven't outgrown John Lennon ... and of course, me and Yoko ... Well, that should go without saying (though just in case, I was JOKING:  I have never "bedded" Yoko Ono!!).

ANYWAY, Sachs Media Group recently offered what it thought would be a few music icons had they lived to see, and be seen, today:  Kurt Cobain, for example (of course he'd still be wearing flannel ... with his hair unwashed since '91!), and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson (who of course, would be wearing a Hawaiian beach shirt ... Really?).

While some of the 'aged rock star' images are laughable (especially Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas ... What the FUCK??? :), the projection of John Lennon, had he lived to become 73 years old, I think could not be more perfect:

It's exactly how I would 'imagine' the guy now.  Good work on that one, SMG!