It’s been awfully quiet in this little corner of the Web lately, partly due to the usual laziness and ennui, and partly because I’ve been superstitiously afraid to write about the one thing that’s been most on my mind. I’m still afraid to even say what that is, but I think you know what I’m talking about.
This month’s cultural menu has included a couple of heavy foreign films (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and The Counterfeiters) counterbalanced by the usual diet of Boston Legal and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as well as some legitimate theater (Tom Stoppard’s Rock and Roll) and a couple of concerts, Mavis Staples and the Kings of Leon. Reading has included Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and a renewed assault on Bob Spitz’s enormous, over-researched Beatles book.
It was in the latter that I came across the following passage, which was just too precious not to share with you, dear readers or future versions of self. It concerns the Fab Four’s 1964 U.S. tour, where they spent large chunks of time on a chartered airplane that “vibrated like crazy and made such a helluva lot of noise that you couldn’t hear yourself think.” (Spitz notes that “Two years later the plane and many of the same crew members crashed in Kansas, killing ninety-five people.”) To combat the boredom,
Paul and Ringo conducted an ongoing poker game with a revolving cast of hard-core news guys, while John and George hustled Art Schreiber in many a “cutthroat game” of Monopoly. “Lennon was a fiend, and extremely competitive,” Schreiber remembers. “He got so keyed up over the damn game, he had to stand up to roll the dice.” And he stayed at it, racking up properties and plastic hotels until he was satisfied that he’d prevail. “I’d be falling asleep, and John would be tugging at me, saying, ‘Art, Art, hey, man, it’s your turn.'”
There’s something priceless about the image of John Lennon going nuts over a game of Monopoly. I can imagine that there’s no heaven, but I can also imagine that John and George are even now hunched over a game board in paradise, squaring off against Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Groucho Marx, and Christ himself. Christ rolls a 6, lands on John’s hotel on Broadway, and stretches his arms wide in supplication; Lennon leaps up from his chair, screams “I’m bigger than Jesus.”
My only question: Is John the race car, the top hat, or the little dog?