I was insane about the Beatles as a kid. I even used to read some of those candy-colored drugstore fan magazines that had compelling facts: “George doesn’t like to ride on buses.” I had a HUGE plastic Army set—that even had exploding bridges!—with tanks, trucks and soldiers galore, and I traded the whole thing for a Beatles wig, which looked like a giant, black, eyeless Maltese. I felt that I got the better end of the bargain. The wig, cleverly, matched my Beatle boots.
So it’s no surprise that the Beatles were my inspiration for my first literary endeavors. I hand-wrote a Beatles newspaper; my handwriting, which is similar to what you’d get if you put a full inkwell up your nose and sneezed it out on paper, wasn’t helpful, but I didn’t know how to type. The newspaper was filled with the kind of thrilling things I’d read and heard about the Beatles, as well as some of my original Beatles poetry. I still remember the line, “The Beatles like to sing and dance, even in their underpants” like it was yesterday.
I made 15 or so copies of the 4-page paper and sold it for a quarter on the street corner of my block, shaking it enthusiastically in the faces of strangers passing by, a few of which would part with a quarter to rid themselves of this bewigged menace. After four issues, I shut the enterprise down, because the public wasn’t ready for my poetry.
John, of course, was my favorite, because he was a wise guy, and because he wore glasses, like me. Imagine that.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Lennon. Dreamers make a difference.