The baby boom generation had their Kennedy. My generation had Lennon. I was reading Michele Agnew's site today, and the question was posed:
Do you remember where you were when you heard that he had been shot? Do you consider yourself a John Lennon fan?
I get the feeling I'm the only one that can tell an amusing story to answer this question. I was in seventh grade. I knew about the Beatles, but I didn't know who was who, or anything about them personally, since I grew up in an immigrant household.
When I woke up that morning, my sister had been listening to the radio. "John Ritter died," she announced. "Somebody shot him."
"Man... really?" I replied, wondering why anybody would bust a cap in such a comic genius. I was more bewildered than distraught. 'F*ck. No more Three's Company,' I thought.
We got to school that morning, and my friend Tom Kubiniec had drawn a screw and a baseball on the chalkboard. That's what the media was calling Mark David Chapman. Next to it, he drew a picture of Lennon. Tom explained his drawings to me with the enthusiasm of a 12 year old. The magnitude of the event became increasingly clear as I watched the news later that evening, and I tried to feel the sadness of a true fan, but I just couldn't muster it.
As I grew older, I suppose I felt it more. Enough to pay an annual visit to Strawberry Fields in Central Park every year in my early twenties, and enough to wish I still could.
Ritter, as we know, lived for another twenty-three years.