December 8, 2014
There are dates that are frozen in time for people. December 7, 1941. September 11, 2001. For me, it’s easily December 8, 1980. As a 16-year-old Beatle fanatic, hearing that John Lennon had been brutally murdered meant the dream was over. I remember thinking that I would never smile again as a protest to the world’s unfairness.
Making it even harder was that John had recently come out of retirement with a new album, Double Fantasy. There were even rumors that he would tour in 1981 (with Cheap Trick as his band!). When his son with Yoko, Sean, was born in 1975 he put the music on hold. He became something nobody had ever heard of before, a house-husband.
John Lennon championed feminism in the 1970s. This is the guy who released a song called “Woman is the Nigger of the World” as a single! The revolutionary was now revolutionizing the home front. Let the wife work. Stay at home with the baby. And other men began to follow. Now 16% of stay-at-home parents are fathers.
In one of his last interviews, with Playboy, he explained that when he baked his first loaf a bread, it was like a hit record and he took a Poloraid of it he was so excited. The interviewer then asked him what he had been working on while he was staying home at the Dakota. He replied, “Are you kidding? Bread and babies, as every housewife knows, is a full-time job.”
December 8th is always a hard day for me. I play John’s music, cry, and think about how much the world has missed out because a lunatic got his hand on a gun. I’ve made pilgrimage to that spot in front of John’s beloved New York home many times, including on the December 8, 2000. There I was joined by hundreds of other fans singing John’s songs of peace. That’s when I got busted by a NYC cop for taking a hit from a dove-tailed joint while we sang “I Am The Walrus.” (But my white privilege saved my ass. Goo goo ga joob.)
Now that I am a house-husband myself, I understand why John did it. What could be more rewarding than spending your days with your baby and finding zen in the home routine? It’s bliss and I feel sorry for every dad who has to work and anger at every dad who just splits. You fools. You colossal fools. Do you know what you’ve given up. I’m kneading bread while my infant daughter smiles at me. This is life’s great reward. This is peace.
There’s a song on Double Fantasy called “Clean Up Time.” I didn’t get it when I was 16 but now that my queen is off working, it’s a bit of an anthem.
The queen is in the counting home,
Counting out the money,
The king is in the kitchen,
Making bread and honey,
No friends and yet no enemies,
No rats aboard the magic ship,
Of perfect harmony,
So this year, here’s what I’m doing to remember John and his campaign for peace. I’m baking bread. I’ve never made it from scratch before, but the dough is rising right now. When it’s done, I’ll take a picture of it (and post it below). And when my wife gets home from work, we’ll eat it. And we’ll look at the baby and know that, in this house at least, there is peace.
We all shine on.