Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To John, with Love

I'm a 'Beatles person', as opposed to an 'Elvis person', (see Pulp Fiction deleted scene with Uma Thurman and John Travolta for details. In a nutshell, you can like Beatles and Elvis, but you always prefer one over the other). Which is funny, because my parents are Elvis people, but I never really understood why.  He was a performer, and didn't even write his own songs, (but don't try and tell an 'Elvis person' that).
Growing up in an Elvis house, I never got exposed to the Beatles. Of course I knew the classics like Hey Jude, and Let it Be, but I never heard Norwegian Wood, or I am the Walrus until I was 18. I truly feel, the songs that John and Paul put together are some of the most original, and catchy songs ever written/recorded, and Abbey Road is one of the best albums of all times.
I also believe John Lennon was one of the most fascinating people of all time. He was far from perfect, (as his exploits are documented often), but he had a gift, and a vision. Over the years, I have studied the Beatles, and John Lennon, (if you want to know more about John, watch the movie Imagine), and learned a great deal of respect and appreciation for him. That is why the following story is so special to me, even if it may not be true.
When I moved to the Orlando area, from Ft Lauderdale, I began searching for many things, like a decent place to find comic books. Because I didn't know the area that well, I went to a comic shop that was right around the corner from where I lived. It was a small place, and they didn't have a lot of the comics I collect, but I was desperate for my fix, so I kept going there.
One day, I was in his shop, and I saw on the floor the album Meet The Beatles mixed in with Frampton Comes Alive and Rumours, and other assorted cheese. I commented to the shop owner and asked if he knew what he had just laying on the floor, and he said
"...yes, are you a fan?"
I said yes, and he said,
"...hold on, I'll show you something."
From the back room, he pulls out the album Imagine and a wool lined wooden cup with glasses in it. He said he got these things from a guy who owed him money, and this was collateral until he could pay him, and here is his story:
Apparently, the guy got these items when he was staying in a hospital. One day an older man comes by and asks if he has an empty bed in his room, cause he was unhappy with his current hospital roommate. The guy said sure. A few days later, John Lennon came by to visit the older man. He thanked the guy for letting him stay in the room with him, and gave him an autographed album, and the wool cup with the glasses. John said they were an old prescription, so he didn't wear them anymore, and he could have them.
This was what the comic shop owner pulled out from the back room. I looked at the autograph on the album, and I have seen John's autograph, so I did recognize it, (although I am not a handwriting expert). The interesting thing about the autograph was what it said:
"To Mike, Love John Lennon"
It didn't say to Bob, or Jim, or Bill... it said 'To Mike'. Wow! I felt as if he had written it to me, (I know it wasn't... but hey, isn't it cool to think it was?)
And then came possibly the single most coolest moment of my life. I pulled out the glasses. They were the same glasses you see in the video for the song Imagine. They were yellow/gold tinted with round frames. I carefully put them on, and could feel my hands shaking when I did. I was looking through the eyes of John Lennon! They were a very thick prescription. It hurt to try and see, but as I looked down, I imagined holding a guitar, and standing in front of thousands of people at Shea Stadium. I took them off and gently put them back into the wool cup. I think it took a week to wipe the grin off my face.
I don't know if these were really John Lennon's glasses or not. It seems odd that something so significant would be sitting around a small comic shop in the middle of nowhere, and that a man would simply give someone these things as collateral... but remember, the name of the song?

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