Dreaming of Paul McCartney, 70
Paul McCartney is now six years older than that impossibly old, “Will you still need me/Will you still feed me” age he envisioned in his 20s. He dyes his hair. He's still a Pollyanna (Paulie-anna?), and thus slightly annoying, and was so even before he began showing up at Yankee Stadium wearing a Yankees cap and unknowingly rooting for the baseball equivalent of the Blue Meanies. He began to seem daft in his 30s, half a lifetime ago, as if all that head-wobbling and pot smoking in his Beatles/Wings days had addled his brain. He's 70 now and you want a bit of John's edge on him. You want to see a little curmudgeon on him. He's entitled. Instead he's titled.
For a time, he was my favorite Beatle. Maybe my favorite person. I could neither sing nor play the guitar (nor bass, nor drums, or drooms, or Jew's harp), but I still wanted to be him. I tried to droop my eyes like his. I wanted his overbite. I bopped my head around during Christmas carols at Mt. Olivet Church. I remember a girl telling me once I looked like him and I fell on the floor in gratitude, ruining any shot I had with her. It was just another day.
I'm sure this informs some part of the dream I had back in 2002. It was right before my friend Joan and I traveled to Europe to bum around and see the sights for a month. It was my first trip to Europe. England wasn't on the schedule:
I'm on the plane to Europe, which is just taking off, when I suddenly realize I don't have anything: no ticket, no passport; it's all back at my apartment. Apparently I left for the airport right from work. All I have is a small bag with me. My seat companion (not Joan) suggests telling the pilot so we can turn the plane around but I don't want to be a bother.
The flight attendants are passing out “Splodes”: lycra-like shirts with numbers on them, sort of like bike racing jerseys. I'm no. 15. Eventually I figure out that splodes are used in case the plane explodes mid-air; it makes it easier to identify our bodies.
I've made it into Europe. I'm doing a Godfather imitation to the amusement of some girl at an outdoor fair, but I'm still worried about the return voyage. Will I be let back into America without a passport? Someone overhears me and tells me it's easy to get back into America — as long as you have money. At this point I become an amalgam of myself and Paul McCartney and I think “It's not a problem then.”
Happy Birthday, Paul. Thanks for the songs. This one was always a favorite: