John Lennon was my first Acid Hero. I can still remember how it all started. 1964. I was in the 2nd grade, 7 years old. High Bridge, New Jersey: a little cow-town in the middle of the Jersey sticks. I was bouncing my basketball down the sidewalk, across the bridge and over the railroad tracks on my way to the playground at High Bridge high school.
Horace and Helen Dalrimple lived in a big old house on the corner right in front of the school. Horace was standing on the sidewalk in front of his house playing with a toy as I approached him. He seemed very excited.
“The Beatles!” he shouted. He kept shouting that: “THE BEATLES!” Horace had a mouth on the side of his face, and he spit when he yelled.
“Horace, what are you yelling about?” I said.
“The BEATLES!” he yelled happily. “Love you, YEAH YEAH YEAH!!”
Horace was semi-retarded, he really was a loony little guy. He was two years younger than me, a punk first-grader. His sister Helen was in my grade, and she was a little subnormal, too. Horace talked out of the side of his mouth — all the Dalrimples for some reason had mouths on the sides of their faces — and he spit when he talked. Especially when he was excited and happy. He was a real loon, that Horace.
“Listen to this!” said Horace.
He was holding up a little transistor radio. It was making this loud, vibrant, electric noise. I put my ear to the transistor radio. It was making this tinny, chiming, high-pitched, high-energy, joyous noise. The song was going: ” She loves you, YEAH YEAH YEAH!” It was singing out of the little transistor radio toy. Vibrating.
“What the heck is that?” I said.
“The BEATLES!” shouted Horace. He was very happy and excited about all this. This exciting new toy, the transistor radio, that was making this cheerful, happy, chiming sound. Yeah yeah yeah.
Pretty soon, both me and Horace were singing/shouting along with the transistor radio: “Love you YEAH YEAH YEAH!” Probably the first song lyric I ever remembered in its entirity. We’re standing there in between the transistor radio really having a good time. Punk first and second graders, rocking out for the first time.
Horace was laughing like a loon. He was a goofy little putz. He laughed like a frog belching. And his mouth was on the side of his face. He kept repeating:
“THE BEATLES!” and “Love you YEAH YEAH YEAH!” with the transistor radio jammed up to his ear, practically into his cranium.
Horace suddenly ran up to his porch and rushed into his house, slamming the door behind him. Then he came running back out to the sidewalk.
“The BEATLES!” he shouted.
It was like he was drunk or something. Horace Dalrimple; first-grade punk. Horace ran off into his backyard, shouting like a loon: “THE BEATLES!” Crazy fucker.
I went on my way to the playground. Bouncing my basketball. Just another sunny afternoon in American Graffiti-land, 1964. And I really didn’t give it a second thought. The Beatles. Love you, yeah yeah yeah.