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on this date

Ed notes the date and asks, where were you? I've printed this on every December 8th since I first wrote it in 2001. This is where I was. [When you're done here, please go read this.] December 8, 1980 When an event happens that shapes your life, or plays a significant role in it, you tend to remember every little detail of the moment it happens. Twenty-one years ago last night. December 8, 1980. I was in my bedroom, lying on the bed with the headphones on, listening to WNEW. It was Jim Morrison's birthday, and the station was running a two hour special devoted to him. I was obsessed with Morrison at that time, and was taping the special I was listening. I know I was wearing an old Led Zeppelin t-shirt and sweat pants and I was writing a poem as I listened to the radio. My room faced the front of the house, and the Christmas lights that hung from the roof glowed red and green and white over my bedroom window. There was a decoration hanging on the window; a big white star made out of plastic pieces melded together. The colors of the bulbs outside made the star look psychedlic. I had smoked enough pot that night to stare at the star for a length of time, imagining the colors blending into one another. My concentration would be broken every now and then by headlights beaming down the street, and I would run to the window and peer out. We were waiting for my cousin Michael, my favorite cousin, to arrive by car from Florida. I was anxious to see him and disappointed that each susbequent headlight did not belong to his car.
All the while, Jim Morrison's life story played out in the background, and I stopped looking down the street for my cousin at some point and started paying attention to the radio. I remember it was late, probably close to 11:00. I may have drifted off at some point and I was jolted fully awake by a shaky voice announcing that someone tentatively identified as John Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City. I waited, nearly numb, hoping for more news. Soon after, it was confirmed. I went inside to tell my parents, but they already knew. I think they announced it on Monday Night Football. I was never much of a Beatles fan. But sometime in high school I went through a hippie phase and took a liking to John Lennon and his ideas. The fact that he spoke out for peace and died so violently was one of the first things that struck me when I heard the news. The event didn't change my life the way it did the lives of Beatles fans. It didn't impact me in quite the same way as someone who was mourning Lennon the man, or the music he created. I mourned something else. I think up until that point, I still had a sense of innocence about me. I was still naive about the ways of the world. I was still all about peace and love and tranquility. I assumed the rest of the world was too. I thought we could all live in harmony and love one another and make the world a better place for future generations. Something happened to me the night John Lennon died. I lost a lot of that idealism. I couldn't get past the fact that someone who was so fervent about living peacefully could have his life taken from him in such a way. I couldn't fathom that something like this could happen. How did we let our world get to this point, that people could just walk around murdering one another? It was then, that very night, that my eyes opened to a new vision of the world. When Lennon died, whatever was left of the peace movement died, too. I dropped my peace sign mentality some time after that night. I gave up and gave in and became cynical like every grown-up I knew. It wasn't all because of Lennon; there were other things that lead up to it also. But the death of John Lennon - the murder of John Lennon sure as hell played a very significant role in shaping my psyche for the rest of my life. That, more than anything, is why I remember every little detail of that night. Somehow I knew, I felt it in my gut the moment I heard the news. I knew that I would never be the same again. I ingrained that moment in my brain somewhere, marking it down as a "this day in history" of my meager little life. 21 years now that I'm a cranky bastard. [Originally posted December 9, 2001] ------------------ And happy birthday to Jim Morrison, a man who I once believed was my connection to the afterlife.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference on this date:

» The Day We Killed John Lennon from AMERICAN DIGEST
"It was twenty-four years ago today, Sergeant Pepper...." Ed Moltzen @ Late Final notes that today is December 8, 2004 and remembers John Lennon (Dec. 3, 1938-Dec. 8, 1980) was shot to death on this date and then asks: "Where were you when you found ou... [Read More]

» Imagine from Late Final
John Lennon (Dec. 3, 1938-Dec. 8, 1980) Where were you when you found out he had died? Update: Vivid recollections have been written at A Small Victory and American Digest.... [Read More]

» 9 most frequently given red state answers to the question, "where were you when you found out John Lennon had been shot to death, Dec 8 1980?" from protein wisdom
"Home watching the teevee." "In bed watching the teevee." "I dunno, was it a Friday? Because if it was a Friday, that's my bowling night. So I was most likely bowling. Or waiting to bowl." "Two words: Urban Cowbo... [Read More]

» You May Say I'm a Dreamer from Sortapundit
On a slightly more reverential note, I always had a lot of respect for Lennon. While he was dying on the streets of New York I was in the womb, so I wasn't a fan of the Beatles or Lennon as a solo artist until about a decade later. In a way I'm glad ... [Read More]


I remember what I was doing on that day in 1980. Well, not so much that I can remember as it is easy to guess. I probably woke up at five or six in the morning, hungry. I was fed, and then burped; at which point I began working on soiling myself. After I was done shitting my pants, someone probably changed them for me and put me on the floor, where I spent most of the morning putting stuff in my mouth (because my fucking teeth were KILLING me), staring at things, and drooling. Probably at about noon I was sucking a titty, then burped again, and more shitting on myself.

It was a great day.

Thanks for sharing that, Shank.

And what I mean by that is your comment sucked, was inappropriate given the context, and you should really learn how to turn on your self editing mode and maybe stop being so hell bent on listening to yourself talk.

Then delete it.

I actually found his/her comment kinda funny. Not to take away from your post Michele. It was funny because it was unexpected hehe. Don't delete it it made me smile!

I realize I'm of a slightly different generation, but I noted John Lennon's death with nothing more than a "hm". The fact that I was 11 at the time, and was more aware of the whingy later years than the fine Beatles work, probably had something to do with it as well.

And (as an irrelevant aside), after reading Jim Morrison's "Wilderness", and realizing what a complete and utter whackjob he was, absolutely all the allure was lost. I'm just glad he didn't frigging kill anybody. Well, besides himself.

I was 14 years old, and had already fallen asleep that night by the time the first headlines went over the wire.

The next morning, before starting the neighborhood paper route, I was absolutely stunned when the bundle of papers opened up to the Page 1 headline: John Lennon Shot Dead. I sat there for a few minutes with my sister. There was almost nothing to say.

Later, walking into school, someone was playing "Watching the Wheels" out of a boombox. It was a really cold, gray day.

I was on my way to the next town to get my senior yearbook photo taken. While I also was not a big Beatles fan, the news of Lennon's death on the car radio threw me into a hysterical crying jag. Hence, I was in no shape to get my pic taken. And, because it was the photo deadline, my picture doesn't appear in my senior yearbook.

He was a clever guy, very irreverent even for his own causes.

Did anyone get the joke behind his freakishly long hair when he first hooked up with that dragon-lady Yoko?

It was for peace. I swear - Hair Peace - get it, hair piece? Check out a photo of their famous Amsterdam bed-in for peace, the artwork he drew in the room read HAIR PEACE.

If only leftists today knew how to laugh at themselves like Lennon did. Maybe they wouldn't be the morally superior self-rigteous losers they are. Lennon would never go for the left today. He'd laugh at them.

I remember hearing it on Monday Night Football. It was such a shock. My college roommate and I just stared at one another. Then he walked over to the stereo and put on The White Album. Just. Like. That.

I look back now, and it seemed like Lennon's death was the first time I remember seeing the whole "mass mourning" of a celebrity. Like Diana, the death itself took second place to the fact that everyone wanted to "be a part of it", like it was a club you just HAD to get into. Certainly not to equate John Lennon with Princess Diana, but their deaths became "events".

I remember thinking that all those people ignored John Lennon for more than a decade, but took his death as a way to prove they were Caring People Who Really Wanted Peace.

Lennon was an extraordinary talent. I may have disagreed with his politics, but he was an artist like no other.

Excellent post on this by Gerald va de Leun at American Digest

Definitely announced on MNF by Howard Cosell (idiotically I always hated Howard the worse for being the one who broke the news). Oddly enough Lennon had actually made an appearance in the booth with the MNF crew a few years earlier (for what reason I can't recall).

It was Vin Scelsa on NEW that night and after he announced the shooting, he played Springsteen's Jungleland. I wasn't a huge Beatles fan but I am of Springsteen and I've never heard Jungleland without thinking of John Lennon being killed.

I was eating jack in the box in the car with my mom. Bacon cheesburger supreme. It was my favorite.

I even remember hearing how he was shot,and picturing it happening in a car like me and my mom were sitting.

Honestly, i didnt even know who he was. Or rather didn't care, just some name on the radio. from some band, the beatles. the same ones they parodied in mad magazine, which was kinda funny. He had a rock band, kinda like KISS, but lame.

Oh well can i get some fries too?

It just coincidentally was probably the only time in my life my mother let me eat fast food for dinner.

I was 10

Years later i realized who John Lennon really was, and what really happeend on that day.

And yet whenever i think of him or the beatles, i am reminded of bacon cheeseburger supremes from jack in the box.


I was on an Israeli bus in the Golan Heights and the announcement came over the sound system " John Lennon nehergu..." and I turned to the people next to me -- "what is (ma ze?) nehergu ?" trans: he was killed.