Monthly Archives: March 2011

Giving Away Something of Value

Fear and Loathing in Phoenix

beatle Highway sign, warning beatle hazard

Our loyal friend Anonymous, outspoken critic of the dreaded FF menace and seeker of truth and wisdom, has given us a great gift: a paper he wrote for his English class. The prompt was “How I gave something away of value.” Unbeknown to him, the professor was a closet beatlehead. He got a D. This short exercise introduced him to the fierce oppression which faces every free thinking music fan who turns a deaf ear to the cloth eared. It has inspired him to battle on, and write his semester paper on why the beatles are the most overrated band ever. A valiant goal. He will undoubtedly fail English.

You’re Welcome, Mom: Giving Away Something of Value

For this prompt I did not actually give away something of value. Over the Thanksgiving break I drove to Phoenix with two brothers, a sister-in-law, and a dog. My grandmother lives there. My parents and another brother drove to Phoenix from Texas. Before I continue it is important to explain that I have a burning hatred of the beatles, so much so that I do not capitalize the name. I grew up assuming they really were as great as everyone made them out to be. But after listening to the Number Ones album in my 11th grade art class for several weeks, I realized that that was not the case. The more I heard, the more I realized that not only are they not a good band, they are awful! After researching the band, I only found more and more evidence that the members were generally terrible people and marginally talented musicians who were supremely over-hyped by hordes of brainwashed music journalists. I hate the music, the people, the legacy and most of the fans I encounter. I hate the beatles at the loss of friends, relationships, and possibly in the future, jobs.

Back to the story: while we were driving through the streets of Phoenix, for no apparent reason, my mother tossed a beatles boxed set of CDs onto my lap. My mother has exquisite musical tastes; everything from the intimidating genre of classical music to the folk-pop groups of her youth. (She even admits to liking “Stairway to Heaven.”) Despite such a fine musical pedigree, she claims to enjoy the beatles’ early music for nostalgic purposes. She is well aware of my enmity towards the terrible Brit-pop quartet, and I suppose she anticipated a humorous outburst by confronting me with her boxed set. I’m used to people bringing up the beatles in conversation in order to be entertained by an inevitable vitriolic diatribe. Personally I think this practice is rather sadistic. But no more digressions, back to the story: without hesitating, or even considering what I was doing, I opened the car door and tossed the box set out. We did not turn around to retrieve it. As far as I know, the boxed set of the beatles’ early years to this day lies somewhere on Shea Blvd.

So I did not give away something of value. I threw away something belonging to someone else, whose value, according to the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, was $69.98. My suggested retail price for the same item would be slightly lower than the price of a small bag of garbage. What I did may be construed by some as inconsiderate and destructive, but I know that what I did was perform a highly valuable service. My quick action saved my mother from the burden of owning music by the most overrated band of all time. She would no longer be forced to hear their syrupy melodies, treacly ballads and just plain boring songs. No more would the mind-numbingly bad refrain from “I Want To Hold Your Hand” waft through her office, deadening the senses of the coworkers and students who stop by. No longer would such perversions as the “tit-tit-tit-tit” chorus from “Girl” grate on the ear drums of passengers in her car. Never again would our home, a veritable Heaven On Earth, be polluted by the somnambulistic anthem “Love Me Do”. You’re welcome, Mom.

At least in my mother’s defense, her former box set contained only the beatles’ early albums, before they begat the truly egregiously bad songs, such as “Maxwell Silver Hammer,” “Yellow Submarine,” or “Obla di Obla Please Shoot Me”.

After I freed my mother from the shame and guilt of owning The Capitol Albums Vol. I, I saw a stunned look on her face. Perhaps she was not ready to confess and forsake that miscarriage of music. Perhaps she wondered how her sweet third son could have developed such an intense hatred for anything. However she felt at the moment I do not know. I knew that with time she would come to appreciate what I had done for her. And I was right. Later she admitted that their music was starting to get on her nerves.