I know this is not a unique thing.
Almost everyone feels some kind of connection to the fab four, but for me, I would mark my time based on theirs or I would relate myself to at least one of them from time to time, thinking something like “Wow that is just like John,” even though I knew it was never really the case… but it just made everything feel a little more important.
When I was a young struggling writer, I saw myself as a young John Lennon. I wore a sailor cap like he did all the time and wrote comic short stories. Yes, I connected to this early John in a major way. I even dressed as him for Halloween once with the sailor cap just so over my bangs… strangely (thanks probably to my blonde hair) most thought I was the Dutch Boy from the paint cans as compared to the young rock god.
Then when I began to question my own spirituality or religious (and now non-religious) beliefs, I thought of George. I read up on Taoism, Hinduism (I especially loved the Ramayana), Buddhism and even read the entire Bible and some lost books from it.
My first attempts at a beard happened at this point in my life. There have been many failed attempts since then.
And while I did not hang out on any religious retreats in India like George and his other Beatles or learn the sitar, I felt a connection to his search for meaning… even though I walked away with different answers than him (well, honestly, non-answers). No, I am not chanting Hare Krishna.
And when I became a dad it was all about Paul.
I kept thinking of that image from the McCartney album of Paul hiding his daughter (Mary) in his coat. That was going to be me as a dad, I thought: artistic, but still grounded and overall a super dad. And in many ways his music (with the Beatles and afterwards) has become the background soundtrack to my children’s playtime. Heck, even their nighttime sleepy music is lullaby versions of Beatles songs.
Once when my son wore a Beatles shirt to his daycare, a teacher questioned whether my son even knew who the Beatles were; before I could answer, my son told her all about the music, the rare pictures of them hanging on our walls, and the fact he likes to sing “Yellow Submarine” via Beatles Rockband on daddy’s Playstation.
That takedown moment by a four-year old was awesome, in my opinion. Just awesome.
Oh, and just so you know, I can’t remember a time I connected with Ringo.
Yet, this Beatles fixation (to three of them at least) extends beyond a strangely obsessed father (me), my wife also has a connection. Her family is from England and her mom used to see them at the Cavern Club in the very early days. Of course, this did not play a part in my falling in love with my wife, but it definitely added some great bonus points for her.
Now how healthy or unhealthy mentally this linking is is definitely debatable. I never ever was silly enough to think I would ever reach the heights they did with their music with my own writing; I wasn’t that naïve.
This was not about success, but about their personal journeys. And I would read extensively on their lives, from autobiographies to biographies to books on The Beatles. An entire shelf on my bookshelf is nothing but books on them.
The thing is I am 38 now and I turn 39 in a few months. And, I can see that this fixation to The Beatles is going to wane, it has to.
By this age, George was pretty much semi-retired creating the occasional record, but mostly producing movies if doing anything; Ringo was a recovering alcoholic and will later be narrating Thomas the Tank Engine (*shiver*); Paul was singing with Michael Jackson and going almost too mainstream for me (“Ebony and Ivory” and “Goodnight Tonight” two examples of songs that didn’t make the cut for my ipod); and John… Well, I don’t want to discuss what happened to John when he was 40.
Frankly, I’ll be older than my idols in their heyday, and that relationship I once saw (my “spiritual” connection, if you will), will need to become something new. Do I need to finally look at them as history? The past? Is it weird for a dude in his almost 40’s to be obsessing still about a band in their 20’s? Do I need to put down my plastic McCartney bass Beatles Rockband guitar? Or frankly, am I thinking about this too much?
I keep thinking of those old identity games everyone did when Facebook first came out. “Which Hobbit are you?” “Which literary character are you like?” “Which house are you in Hogwarts?” Etc. So identifying with something outside one’s reality seems to extend far beyond me. I can take comfort in that fact.
But why do we do this? What does this satisfy?
I admit I would feel good when I got an answer I was happy with after one of those tests, but I knew it didn’t mean anything. In reality, none of this means anything, really. It was just another way to define ourselves, but why?
Whatever the case, I am entering a new stage in my life. The Beatles will still be on shuffle, will probably always be on shuffle, but the sailor cap is in the closet.
Who knows? Maybe my son will wear it someday.
I think it would look good on him.
If you liked reading my article, why not check out some of my books? I had two novels published in the last few years, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!