When I was 8 years old, I asked my father what a condom was. I heard the word on the playground and wanted some clarification. Rather than try to explain it with minimal embarrassment, he pretended I asked something else and said ‘it’s an apartment that you buy’ and I spent the next few years thinking that a condo was what you bought to have sex in, which lead to some very distorted, albeit temporary, views on who exactly could afford to have sex.
He wasn’t so good at the speech and advice thing. In all honesty, he kind of sucked. There is only one piece of advice I can recall that stuck with me. I had come home from school very upset because a kid named Tyrone told me the poem I had written for class was dumb and he didn’t like me. I was distraught as I had stayed up late to write it, and you know that sh*t rhymed like nobodies business. He listened to me carry on for about 10 minutes and finally cut off my hysterical tears with a sigh of exasperation. He rubbed his eyes and said the words that I remind myself of all the time:
‘For God’s sakes Teresa, don’t worry if there are people who don’t like you or what you’re doing. There are people who don’t even like THE BEATLES‘
Leave it to him to make his only good life lesson into a musical metaphor. There were 3 deities we prayed to in my house : God, Elvis and The Beatles. Right about where most people fame their wedding picture, there was a framed LP of his favorite Beatles album walking across the famed Abbey Road. I saw that picture every day when I left the house and my father once told me that we would walk across it one day to feel the magic of that place and as a result I spent my whole life dreaming of strutting across that little crosswalk.
My father never got his wish, he only left Canada a couple of times and none of them were to the UK, but the other day I got to make that dream come true for myself. I’d like to tell you that I did it with the same grace and style as those 4 boys, but that would be a lie. I of course got super emotional and kept up my bad habit of crying in memorable music spots. I all but danced across the road, my yellow scarf flying behind me and waltzed up to the gates of the studio like I was a believer returning to church. It’s as magical as I thought it would be, from the original sign that still hangs over the door, to the hoards of signatures scrawled all over the walls surrounding it. Thousands of people still come every day to leave their mark to show how much of an impact those four british boys had on the world.
Today I’d like to share one of my favorite Beatles songs with you, in hopes that it reminds you of the legendary power they still hold over the music scene today. It’s the song I most often turn to when I need clarity and advice; this song has fathered me my whole life with simple wisdom. In one of the best speeches ever, Mary Schmich said ‘Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than its worth’. The Beatles gave a lot of great advice: “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be undone”, or ‘don’t be afraid, you were made to go out and get her’ or the iconic simplicity of ‘All you need is love’. Words that told us to hope and love and make a better world, words to draw strength from in hard times. My father never gave me any of that, but it turns out that it’s okay cause he gave me the Beatles and the only life lesson that I’ve ever really needed.