Holy week. The perfect time to talk about the Beatles.
No, this is not about how god-like the Fab Four are, nor is it to dredge up that Lennon quote about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus (he was right, by the way), nor is it to scoff at the potential Beatl-ettes group
. The reason I'm coming to you with news of the Beatles is because of my obsession for metaphors.
This obsession is well-known in my family, who, when I get that certain comparative look in my eye, will interrupt exasperatedly and often simultaneously with: "Yes, we understand it
, so we don't need to know what else it's like
But I was listening to the Beatles this week, as part of my life-list quest to finish 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.
Three things happened.
1) I regret my early life hipster stance against all things Beatles. When I was first becoming a music snob, I obviously eschewed anyone or anything that was the least bit popular. And since they were the most popular band of all time, I necessarily sniffed my disapproval. Well, they are the most popular band of all time for a reason, and listening to Hard Day's Night, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album
, and Abbey Road
straight through humbled me. They really are the greatest band of all time.
2) I started a Facebook conversation asking Beatles fans in which three songs the Boys used the word "sin". It's at 38 comments and counting. Winners were Phil Van Munching and Mike Volt Rusticana for getting "You Can't Do That" (Hard Day's Night)
and "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" (White Album)
No one got "Love You To" from Revolver.
Runners up included Virginia, Pete and Lori for earnest tries and Penny for most amusing exchange: [Mike - "No Penny, you can't do that...." (correctly answering the question) Penny - "I can't do what?"]
3) I thought of a metaphor! It happened as I was listening to Sgt. Pepper
on my iPhone and one of my ear buds came out. I was listening to "When I'm 64" at the time, and suddenly, I was only hearing the music, and not the words. I realized it would not be safe to put the ear bud back in my right ear, so I continued listening to the rest of the song with only the left ear bud in. To my amazement, the cool Lennon song about growing old together (with Yoko?) became a kind of clarinet-y, circus-y bit of weirdness featuring bells and toy piano. A person who hear only half of this song would expect a bear in a tutu to suddenly appear.
This became a metaphor for a) our lives without God, b) the Law without the Gospel (!) c) the life of a Christian without church d) Snickers without peanuts. We could go our whole lives of knowing only a) ourselves, b) a brutal, damning law c) the facts of Christianity d) chocolate and caramel and not even know there was anything more to life. But when we strap that other ear bud on, oh what beautiful music is made! We now see the way the song was meant to be heard; the universe explained; the Scripture to be read; the life of a Christian to be lived; the candy bar eaten.
It's almost like living life without metaphors.