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I finally managed to see The Beatles Yesterday today

The Beatles or The Stones? In answer to the Proustian question, I’d have to say I’m definitely more of a Beatles fan. I love some of the early Stones’ music like Time is on My Side, and Satisfaction never fails to rev me up, but overall my loyalty inclines more toward The Beatles. The sensitivity and poetry of She’s Leaving Home, Eleanor Rigby  and their many other songs can’t be denied. That’s why I was so anxious to see the movie Yesterday, which I finally managed to catch today—which as I’m now posting it a day later is actually, yesterday. It promised to be a major vehicle for their music and what boomer wouldn’t enjoy getting a little high from that. It’s a surreal story-line but well played by Himesh Patel (from BBC’s Eastenders) and Lily James (who played Lady Rose in Downton Abby) as lead characters Jack Malik and his childhood friend and supporter, Ellie.

Jack is a wanna-be part-time rock musician who works at a big box store by day and plays his music at pathetic evening and weekend gigs (shades of Saturday Night Fever’s plot?). Just as he’s ready to give up on his music career, a solar flare knocks out the entire world’s electricity for twelve seconds. When the power is restored, major contemporary cultural icons have simply disappeared from history, and everyone’s memory—except for Jack. All of a sudden, no one has heard of The Beatles, Coca-Cola, cigarettes or even Harry Potter.

Jack capitalizes on this gap in history by regurgitating all the Beatles’ music and claiming it as his own. He’s met with skepticism in the beginning but no one can argue the merits of the music and he soon becomes famous for his seemingly amazing song-writing skills. He’s picked up by a high-rolling Los Angeles agent, repackaged and remarketed but ends up unhappy despite the money and fame. There’s an underlying thwarted love story between Jack and Ellie because Hollywood always have to have a love story. Ed Sheeran played himself in the movie and his performance was most commendable. He was one of the better parts.

Lily James and Himesh Patel were excellent in their roles as Jack and Ellie.

 

There was a surprise in store for this boomer going to the movies

I think the most remarkable part of going to see this movie for me was the fact I attended my first “Stars and Strollers” movie matinée. Until today, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. The 1:00 p.m. showing was specially created to accommodate young mothers and nannies with babies. Baaaad idea for an old boomer like me to attend and think everything would be fine. The house lights remain on low during the movie and the sound is reduced somewhat to accommodate what everyone hopes will be sleeping babies. I was warned by the ticket attendant about the possible inconveniences and he informed me that if I found the experience uncomfortable, I could get a refund.

The lower volume didn’t seem to be an issue as I simply turned up the volume on my hearing aids which in retrospect turned out to be another bad idea. The young mothers were all lined up with babies in their strollers in the front row and to my shock and surprise, there was even a fully-equipped change table set up front and centre in the theatre. As soon as the movie started, three babies took turns, tag-teaming the wailing, fussing and screaming. None of the mothers made a move to depart the theatre to spare us old boomer Beatle fans from the noise. They simply walked back and forth between the seats, sitting on the floor and otherwise, doing their mothering thing throughout the movie. Two of them even made use of the change table. How they were able to even get the gist of what the movie was about is beyond me because I heard less than half the dialogue and I wasn’t even attending to a screaming baby.

Now, it’s highly possible the “Stars and Strollers” experience coloured my impression of the movie but I really don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong; I love babies and can’t resist approaching a young mother pushing a stroller in the mall to admire her little one. Himesh Patel was excellent as Jack Malik and his singing was every bit as good as Paul McCartney, perhaps even better. Lily James was perfect, despite her annoying little lisp. But, overall, I found the movie trite and disappointing. The popcorn was good though and I always enjoy my pail full of Diet Coke. The guy in front of me texted throughout the entire movie so I guess he didn’t find the experience all that engaging either. I’d suggest you wait for Yesterday to come to television or get it free through your streaming service. But, I remain a firm Beatles fan which leaves me conflicted about the movie. The music was great, but as romcoms go, it was only OK. I wanted to like it but I didn’t. If you’ve seen it, what did you think? Am I being unfair?

P.S. And I didn’t ask for a refund. I was forewarned and I accept full blame for the outcome.

 

 

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Today’s lesson for Boomers. . . 1 + 1 = 1

Math has never been my strong suit. I’m a consistent 20% tipper in restaurants because it’s easier to calculate 20% than 15% in my head (and because I was a waitress a long time ago, so I appreciate the value of tips to servers). But, as baby boomers age, we realize that it’s easier to get through life with two people than it is with one. I was single for ten years before I married for the first time and spent seventeen years between husband number one and number two, so I’ve had a total of twenty-seven years of experience being single and on my own. And I’ve come to the conclusion that as we round out our third quarter, as The Beatles so eloquently put it, “we get by with a little help from our friends”. And that includes husbands, partners, neighbours, family members and even pets. They all help us get through the day. They filled the void during all those times I was on my own and continue to do so. The much maligned phrase uttered by Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, “You complete me,” is suddenly not so corny.

I’ve written before (click here to read I’m not OK. Are you OK?) about the downside of certain aspects of aging. Being forgetful or absent-minded is natural—rather like defragging our hard-drive. Our brain has to dump old data to make room for new input. Regrettable but understandable. But my honey and I have recently experienced too many memory faults and error messages to write them off as simple updating of our ROM. Just last night we were sitting at dinner and couldn’t figure out what year we moved into our house. Was it two years ago or three? The mental exertion soon proved to onerous so we moved on to dessert.

Never again.

One day when I was checking out of a big box store I got caught with 12 items in my cart and only 11 items on my bill. I’d picked up two bags of pecans and accidentally only rang up one. I naively thought I was intelligent enough to handle the self checkout but obviously I over-estimated my abilities. To make it worse, just as I was standing there sorting out the issue with the checker at the door, while the lineup of impatient shoppers grew even longer behind me, I hear “Hi Lynda”. My friend Jeannette happened to be passing by just in time to witness my embarrassing shakedown by store security. Two lessons emerged from this experience:

  1. I am incapable of managing self-checkout without supervision
  2. Henceforth, I will always check out with a cashier because, a) they not only do a better job, but, b) I’m saving a job. Self-checkouts and other self-serve functions deprive someone of a real job and that’s not good for anyone.

Last week I mentioned to my husband that the windshield washer tank in my car was empty. When I kept pushing the lever, nothing happened. He was inappropriately smug and a tad too condescending when he informed me later that I’d been pushing the wrong lever.

And the list goes on. I gathered some girlfriends recently to watch a Christmas movie and swill wine but my television froze. Nothing worked. A couple of days later when the cable guy came out, it was a loose connection on the back of the receiver—which I had already checked, several times. He was very understanding, under the circumstances (dealing with an old lady).

But the pièce de résistance came earlier this week when my laptop computer died. It’s only 18 months old and when I bought it I also purchased every warranty and service package available to humankind for just such occasions. I checked the power outlet to make sure it was working, even moving it to an outlet in the kitchen to double-check. I changed the battery in the mouse and double-checked that the mouse was ‘On’. I couldn’t even reboot, which usually solves most problems, because it wouldn’t turn on or off. I pushed the laptop’s On/Off button multiple times with varying degrees of pressure and lengths of time in futile attempts to achieve ignition. No luck. Like Monty Python’s parrot; it was dead—not resting, not asleep—definitely dead!

So, I called Microsoft and the nice man informed me I might have a faulty display driver and suggested I take it to the Microsoft store where they would address my problems and perhaps replace my laptop. I was thankful for my brilliant foresight in purchasing those expensive warranty and service contracts. The next morning I made a 45-minute drive to the store. When I explained my situation to the little boy working there, he laid a nice protective pad on the counter, placed my dead parrot on the pad . . . and . . . TURNED IT ON. It worked!!! Heaven only knows why I couldn’t do the same thing pushing that little button; maybe my laptop just wanted to go for a nice long car ride and be fingered by someone with a gentler touch. Even my technically challenged husband now takes great delight in offering to turn my computer on.

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

As I said earlier, I’m not a math whiz; in fact I’m a complete ditz but when it comes to numbers. Fortunately my husband is amazing so he helps me. But he’s not good with the English language, written or spoken so I’m always available to bail him out with spelling and pronunciation issues. It’s the perfect yin and yang. We support each other’s shortcomings. Watching my parents as they grew older, I began to appreciate the value in having someone alongside to help shoulder the load. Now we’re in the same boat. What one can’t do, the other usually can. We muddle through. My friend Terry showed me how to use the timer on my oven; Gail’s our social convener; her husband Mike’s our go-to I.T. guy. I’m the source of new Britcoms on television. When we’re feeling discouraged or in need of a little moral support, who do we call? Our friends.

The challenges of aging aren’t what John Lennon and Paul McCartney had in mind when they penned “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends” but even then they understood the depth of meaning in the words to When I’m Sixty-Four. So far, he still needs me, still feeds me (twice a week when it’s his turn to cook), and still sends me Valentines. Mine for ever more. The reciprocal shortcomings of two people added together equals a whole in any equation. That’s not just science; it’s life. Maybe Jerry McGuire wasn’t so stupid after all.

To order a copy of my latest book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon, click here.

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
When I’m Sixty-Four lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
With a Little Help From My Friends
A little help from my friends
What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Going to try with a little help from my friends
What do I do when my love is away
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you’re on your own)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody
I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody
I want somebody to love
Would you believe in a love at first sight
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody
I just need somebody to love
Could it be anybody
I want somebody to love
I get by with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
With a Little Help From My Friends lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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