I remember it well. There I was, a twenty year old college student, sitting alone in the dorm TV room, trying to relax after finishing my week of exams, all set, in a day or two, to make the three hour drive back to Chicago to spend Christmas break with my family. I remember it was late, after midnight probably, since the show I was watching was "The Midnight Special". The reason I remember so well was because, this time, something very strange happened. The show was interrupted, right in the middle, by a stark, shocking graphic: John Lennon 1940-1980. Of course, I had no idea what had happened. Instantly, words started screaming inside my head. What!? What's this all about? Why did they put that on here? They're kidding, right? In my mind, all of this flashed in a heartbeat, but I remember that the graphic just stayed there, without a sound, as if an announcer should be saying something but just couldn't force himself to say the words he was told that he had to say, as if by saying them the numbing reality would be even more true. Finally, hesitantly, he told me the unbelievable, that John Lennon had been shot to death outside of his New York apartment. The graphic then changed to the words "We Love You, John Lennon", and I realized at that moment the depth of the love I felt for that man. I had to ask, what had he ever stood for, but love and peace and truth? How had he ever lived his life, but honestly and openly, allowing everyone to watch as he lived and grew? What, in this God forsaken world, did a man like this ever do to deserve being shot down in the street like that? What!? I was stunned. No, I was more than stunned, I was devastated. The realization hit me that I had just lost the only hero I had ever had, the one person I looked up to the most in the whole world. I remember stumbling to my room and slamming the door, sinking down in a chair and crying. I felt cheated, not only because he was gone, but so was all the music that he would ever be making. I had waited five years for him to start recording music again, and as soon as he did, some idiot had to come along and kill him. I knew how selfish I was being, but I didn't care, I felt terribly, terribly cheated. The simple fact was that the world was going to be a much less interesting place without John in it. And yes, I gathered all of his solo albums and all of the Beatles albums I owned and stayed up all night listening to them, crying tears of loss to every one of my favorite songs. I felt, once again, completely alone. You may wonder what my reaction said about me? Well, that's easy to answer. It said that in my sorry little life I needed desperately for there to be at least one person in the world who stood for all of the things that I wanted to stand for. But what did what happened say about the world? That it was even more insane than I thought it was? That anyone could be killed, and anything could be destroyed, not matter how precious? That there will always be someone out there crazy enough to do anything? And lastly, what did all this say about John Lennon? That if you want to be famous you have to accept that you may also be a target? I've never understood why the world works this way. Perhaps it's beyond my understanding.
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