Happy Birthday, John Lennon

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Ken...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not sure which is more startling. The fact that John Lennon would be just eight years younger than my mother today, or that the world is uniting to celebrate the birth of someone who’s been dead – and so basically ageless – for the last thirty years.

I remember when he died. I cried. He was my favorite Beatle for reasons that had nothing to do with anything rationale. I was sixteen. I liked the badder boys though they had to be brainy because I just couldn’t suspend my own intelligence to pretend that “badness” was enough. He wasn’t pretty. McCartney was pretty and the better looking the boy, the less likely he was to even notice me, so I disregarded them as a matter of expediency.

I would go on to prefer the George Harrison‘s of the world but only after several emotionally brutal lessons with the John Lennon’s of the world.

John Lennon was an asshole despite the whole “love, peace and Strawberry Fields” image he has today. He suffered no fools. He was a prick to his friends, a douchebag to his women and a questionable father.

But happy birthday.

Happy Birthday?

You don’t have birthdays after you die. It’s metaphysically impossible. We do the cake for dead people thing, but only for the kids. Dee goes back and forth. Some years she is totally down with a cake for her father and others, she prefers not because “it’s too sad”, and I am in total agreement with the latter. What could be more sad than deliberately stalking sadness and inviting it in for cake and ice cream?

But in the spirit of a rather morbid practice, here is my favorite Lennon tune:


3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, John Lennon

  1. I am so with you on the no-birthday-parties-for-dead-Daddies thing, and I love the way you put it: stalking sadness and inviting it in for cake and ice cream. Even taking balloons to the cemetery just feels so creepy to me.

    I think we remember Lennon’s birthday because of his shocking death, the sense that he could have created so much more and because we lost something, something more than his music. We’ve become mostly inured to political assassinations: They happen; it’s a risk you take when you choose to run for public office. But this one? Who could do that? Who would shoot the Beatles for God’s sake?

    I suspect that if Lennon hadn’t been murdered — if he’d overdosed 5 years later, or died in a car crash 10 years later, or of cancer 20 years later — his would be just another name on the list of Famous People Born Today. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t still have a huge fan base, but his birthday would be a blip for everyone except the Devoted Fans.

    1. I agree. About dead dads and that spectacular endings create legends.

      Elizabeth makes a good point in the previous comment on what makes a person worth missing – what they gave and how you perceived the value of that.

      My trepidation with Lennon is that he’s been built up into something that I think is actually Yoko. She’s built the feel-good legend his memory basks in. I think we probably should be feting her, but that’s just my opinion.

  2. Born two days after my mother and what looked like two decades later based on their life choices, panty girdles versus pot. My mother turned 70 two days ago. She’s still kicking around down in Alabama, but she hasn’t spoken to me for more than half my life. And you know what, I’m pretty sure at this point that I miss John Lennon more … even if he was a bad boy.

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