I found out the morning after. I was in my folks' bedroom, kicking my feet into the blankets while lying on my stomach watching TV, as I did most mornings. My mom had already left for work, and my dad was in the bathroom preparing for his day to come. As always, the tiny radio he had in there with him was blasting the morning news. I was lost in the world of Fred and Barney when out he walked, red-eyed and with a face loaded with shaving cream. He told me John Lennon, who was one of my heroes in a time when I still had them, had been shot and killed. I was shocked. I felt like someone I actually knew died. The Beatles — along with Dylan and the Stones — brought me some of my earliest memories of happiness; days when I was content just sitting on the floor in my room, alone with a meagre stack of glorious vinyl and the sounds that took me away to other worlds. The moment I found out about Lennon dying also sticks with me as it was the first time I can recall seeing my dad cry, or at least be near tears. I finally saw him as human, and realized that my now-dead hero was also human; all too human.
Post originally titled 30 Years Ago Today, published 12/8/10.