John Lennon Remembered.

Today marks the 34th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Since 34 is not a round number, the media tends to gloss right over it, but come the year 2020, which marks the 40th anniversary of his death, their stance will be a little more aggressive, I predict.

For me, and many others, it doesn't matter whether it's the 12th anniversary or the 50th, December 8 never fails to arrive like a fist to the face and it never seems to hurt any less.  In 34 years, I have not built up any tolerance to the pain that is the death of John Lennon at the hands of a complete maniacal dipshit looking for a shortcut to fame.

Still, I can't help but feel that Lennon's death was partly my fault. After all, he was my Beatle and, well, the people, places and things that I love never seem to be long for this world.  Even as a kid, I immediately identified with his acerbic wit and many changing moods.  I liked the way he didn't clamor for the limelight or dominate every situation.  I liked the fact that he always seemed to be listening when others spoke.  The other Beatles, great as they may have been, are largely one-dimensional, but John had many different sides to him that he shared with the rest of the world.

Over the years, and thanks to all the information now available at the click of a mouse, I have come to know the man a whole lot more and, as a result, my admiration of him is just as strong today as it was when I was a kid.  I've watched the news footage from the infamous bed-in, seen and heard his statement about Jesus and Christianity that was, quite frankly, taken completely out-of-context and turned into a nationwide media spectacle.

I can't help feel that being a guy who was, by and large, about ten years ahead of his time must have been an exhausting thing and that right around the mid-'70s, Lennon just got tired of weathering the continual slings & arrows and checked out for the next 18 months, which is often referred to in the media as Lennon's "lost weekend".  His withdrawal from public life to wear the lesser hats of philanderer and drunk were thankfully short-lived, but, long enough to give him a real appreciation for what was truly important to him.  He would then spend five years raising his son while wife Yoko looked after his finances, and quite successfully at that.

By the time he returned to active duty, so to speak, the generation for which he'd been the unofficial spokesman was beginning to take their first reluctant steps toward middle age.  Songs like "(Just Like) Starting Over", "Woman", and "Watching The Wheels" spoke of overcoming complacency, old wounds, and self-imposed limitations to find happiness in life.  It was obviously not what the hipper-than-hip rock critics of the time wanted from him, but the rest of us were too busy singing along to the great songs he'd given us to care that none of them were "Helter Skelter" or "Revolution".

Part of me thinks that, had he lived, Double Fantasy would have been the calm before the storm, as his inability to steer clear of controversy would have been short-lived for one reason or another.

Believe me, there are many causes and musical movements that would have been ripe for Lennon's commentary, but, alas, he was silenced the very minute I became old enough to appreciate the man in real-time.

Wherever you are, John, I am merely one among millions who miss you because you changed the direction of my life and gave me a sense of joy I would not have experienced otherwise. To have been able to do that to more than one generation is a hell of an accomplishment, you know that, right? The world is a lesser place without you.

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