Like so many others, I will always remember where I was and who I was with when I heard that John Lennon had been murdered.
I was at a club called Maximus in New City, New York with my friends Z, Chris and J. Monday night was “New Wave” night, and we were hanging out drinking kamikazes and watching the still-novel medium of music videos on the club’s monitors.
We all had to go to work the next day, so we called it a night about 11 p.m. It was in Z’s car that we heard the breaking news that Lennon had been shot and rushed to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt hospital. Soon after, we got the news that he was dead. The DJ on whatever station we were listening to thought it was funny to play Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” so we turned off the radio and drove home in stunned silence.
Back at home, I walked in crying, and found my brother and sister in their rooms crying, and my father looking a bit perplexed in front of the living room TV. I didn’t really sleep much that night.
At work the next day, friends and co-workers asked me how I was doing, as if I’d had a death in the family. They all knew how much of a John Lennon fan I was. But my boss couldn’t quite fathom the world’s reaction. I said something about Lennon having a big effect on my thinking, and he said it’s not like the guy was Aristotle or something. I didn’t know how to respond to that. Maybe I should have said, “Good thing. Ever try dancing to Nicomachean Ethics?”
John Lennon may not have been an Aristotle. But he was a seeker, and a very public one at that. If people like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus et al built the doors that lead to greater understanding, people like John Lennon knock on those doors, and sometimes hold them open for us and say “Hey, check this out.”
I might not be on this path were it not for John Lennon. His songs were my signposts.
We all shine on.