Sunday, February 21, 2016
Just something I felt I needed to write today (not sure why)
Life is filled with mile markers, things that people who weren't there are going to ask you about when you’re old and gray and supposed to know stuff. The funny part is no one is going to ask you about the day the Berlin Wall came down or the day the cold war ended (if you can pinpoint that exactly). People want to know about the bad stuff.
We all asked our elders where they were when JFK took a bullet. It was one of those things that defined the life of every baby boomer in existence. I’m sure there were other tragic things, but human nature likes to pick at the big scars that are left for everyone to stare at.
I am not a Baby Boomer. I wasn’t born when Kennedy was shot and , although I’m sorry that it happened, I have no emotional connection to the event. People have a tendency to ask where I was when the Space Shuttle blew, or where I was when the planes hit the towers, or some who even want to know my geographic location when the OJ verdict was handed down. I am connected to all of these things. Everybody who was alive at the time are. All those things were on the TV. These events have shaped lives and laws. These events have changed destinies. I can’t claim that they did any of those things for me.
I suppose that belonging to the generation called “X” there are certain expectations for me to place importance on the death of Kurt Cobain. Musically it was tragic and it led to the rise of the boy bands and the downfall of grunge. The whole thing was tragic, but Cobain was a shooting star. He burned hot and bright, but didn't last very long. I was at work when the news came over from the wire service and it meant something, but I was still mostly disconnected.
If anyone were to ask me the historical tragedy that defined me as a person, the one I remember more than any other, I would look them directly in the eye and say. . . It was December 8th 1980. I was in 6th grade. I was almost 12 ½ years old and had a firm belief that Rock and Roll could make everything better.
I've long held the belief that. in every 12 year old in existence, there is a defining moment. It’s just one single moment between the ages of 12 and 13 when innocence dies. It could be the moment when you realize that your being alive was dependent on your parents having sex. It could be the moment when you realize that you don’t just like someone but that you really “like-like” them or (in my case” it can be the moment you realize that your heroes can die.
I was sitting on the stairs of my school. I was wearing a white shirt and a blue tie. I was not cool. I did not feel cool. It was snowing, and I did not care. I had heard it on the radio. I had tried not to hear it. John Lennon had been shot and nothing made any sense.
I didn't want to hear the details. I just sat in school. I spoke to no one. My stomach was queasy and I felt small. I always felt small, but that day I felt smaller than every before. I wanted to be invisible. The day moved too slowly.
I went home and played the Abbey Road album. I listened to Golden Slumbers through a pair of Nova 16 headphones and I cried. If you ask me where I was when I heard that John Lennon was dead, I will not tell you this story. I may say I don’t remember, I may quote a song lyric or one of his poems. I may tell you one of the stories from his life, or I may say nothing at all.
It’s always the saddest thing when you learn that your heroes won’t live forever.
All we are saying is “Give Peace a Chance”