Revolutionary Beatles 328.06
5/16 FINAL EXAM
5/18 FINAL TERM PAPER DUE - "Your Beatle of Choice"
5/23 LAST DAY. ORAL PRESENTATION
I read and reread the last two assignments on the syllabus. Skimmed
them. Devoured them. Envisioned them, although the dates and
assignments were indelibly inscribed in my mind. Tests were not so
bad, but term papers? A term paper that required each pupil to
write from an introspective viewpoint and offer personal input terrified me.
I had always fallen back on plain, objective facts. Getting into this
class was hard enough due to the high demand for it, but to make matters
worse, my final grade would be determined by this one paper.
"Beatle of Choice" -- how could I answer that question in front of
other people? People who were, for the most part, older and more
worldly than I was, and who had experience speaking in public.
A Ringo song leapt unbidden into my mind -- "You Don't Know Me At
All." How right you are, Ringo, I thought. Nobody in
the whole damn class knew me, let alone anyone in this university. And
how well do I know others? Yeah, most people love talking about
themselves, but not me. Turning personal questions back on the asker
was a very effective dodge.
Another good response was a well-timed "why do you ask?"
This was the ideal response to give when asked very personal
Personal = term paper. The terms seemed interchangeable to me.
All roads led to that final project. How to pull this off without
revealing too much of myself was the major dilemma I was facing.
In a way, I did feel respect for the folks who were eager to offer glimpses
as well as panoramic views of themselves. In some cases, folks will
paint verbal murals of themselves in their work! One classmate
had made an autobiographical "time line" collage by bringing in
pictures of himself and juxtaposing them with pictures of the Beatles at
comparable ages and stages of their careers. No way would I
ever do that!
That final assignment was really leaving me feeling unsettled. Words
from an old caretaker charged into my memory -- "the sooner you get
started, the sooner you'll be finished." This nugget of wisdom
always accompanied a distasteful chore such as washing the dishes or
tackling challenging assignments. Like this one.
That damn term paper! That needless oral presentation! No
assignment could be more challenging that this one! The full title of
the Beatles' 1965 classic, "Norwegian Wood" seemed very apropos.
(I always had the Beatles serve as my spokesmen. After all, who
expressed ideas and feelings better than the Moptops)? "This Bird
Has Flown" is right! This bird wanted to fly very badly!
Like the affair John Lennon sang of so cryptically in "Norwegian
Wood," I wanted to fly, just to escape the dreaded project.
Making me do a "personalized" project was cruel and unusual
punishment, but there was the capper -- on the last day, we'd get our papers
back with circled portions which we'd have to share aloud. "Run
For Your Life," so said John Lennon, 1965.
Sighing, I trotted off to the library to get started on the dreaded thing.
"The sooner I got started...."
I plowed through my notebooks and research materials for what felt like the
hundredth time. Maybe a good approach to take would be to use the
Beatles' own words. In the meantime, it was time to listen to some
George Harrison. It was definitely an All Things Must Pass kind of
Eureka! I have found it! Eureka, a Greek word with an
interesting history. Archimedes, a Greek mathematician serendipitously
provided the world with this one word concept. As popular lore has it,
Archimedes stepped into a nearly full tub at a public bath. Each time
he stepped in and out, he noted the water level. Archimedes then
applied the concept of how bodies displace an amount of water that is equal
to their own volume by demonstrating how silver has a greater volume than
gold of the same weight. \
to Archimedes, I have found ("eureka!") how that concept can
possibly be applied to my paper and presentation. If I wrote in an
impersonal way that carried more weight ("Carry That Weight" --
all roads lead to Liverpool)! than any personal observations, I just
might be able to pull it off. Hats off to the Beatles and to
Talk about a hard day's night! I have all of my other work out of the
way save for that damn paper and presentation! That final assignment
hangs over my head like a Sword of Damocles! It was definitely
a Paul McCartney - Londontown type of evening. "I've Had
Enough" sums up the way I feel!
At last I have found my Long & Winding Road to completing this dreaded
assignment. The test won't be too bad -- just some essay
questions and musical analysis. Good thing I'm a Beatles' expert.
Today's the day. I crossed the Rubicon. I met my nemesis.
Today's the day. Just don't let me pass out in front of the class when I
have to do my presentation. I just slid my paper in the middle of the
stack of papers others had already turned in. It's bad enough the
paper is due today (10 - 15 pages, footnotes and personal insights…yeah, I
know) but to have to read the most personal parts aloud? And
not knowing in advance what parts I'll have to read will be? I
don’t think so! Maybe I'll contract the flu by the 23rd.
"Help! I Need Somebody!" John Lennon has once again
supplied me with words.
I can't ever read my paper aloud again, so I've just copied and pasted the
parts I had to do. Not too shabby -- a B+! (I would have
gotten an A+, if not for this oral presentation part of it!)
Ah, well, I did it. It's over. I hope I never get an
assignment like this one ever again! Believe me, I would never
have voluntarily read this aloud for anyone.
My Long & Winding Road, or
The Beatle of My Choice
Each Beatle represents a part of my life. When I was younger, so much
younger than today, I felt a bond to Ringo because he was depicted as the
underdog. In many instances, Ringo appeared to be relegated to the
background and was often cruelly satirized by the press and in the Beatles'
During my "terrible teens," I went through an intense George and
John period. For several years, and even to this day, I responded
to and empathized with George's quest for privacy. I loved the
seemingly aloof manner he cultivated in public; I adored his hair.
Even today I view the world through thick bangs and intense eyes, cherishing
privacy and very rarely willing to be the subject of any discussion.
John can be likened to the id of the Beatle psyche. John was free to
express himself naturally. He had a real flair for satire and
impromptu wit. He was a contrast to the "ego," as expressed
by George and Ringo.
Paul represents the superego in that he was the practical Beatle, the
gracious Beatle, the voice of reason. I realize this is subjective
theory on my part, but the purpose of this paper is to bring the Beatles
into subjective focus.
My final paragraph read as follows:
In closing, one can describe the Beatles in Gestalt terms: the whole
(of the group) was greater than the sum of each part or Beatle. Ringo
represented my early years; George my adolescence; John my first steps
towards adulthood and developing a voice and Paul, stability and a family
oriented time in one's life. Paul McCartney is my Beatle of Choice.
Done! Survived that presentation!
Once again, the Beatles by their own words have stepped up to the plate for
me by providing their words of wisdom. "Speaking words of wisdom,
let it be, let it be..."