The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - OPENERS - IAN HEN­SCHKE

IT’S THAT TIME of the year when peo­ple say where has the year gone? It’s also the time of the year when I think of John Win­ston Len­non. He was shot when he was just 40 on De­cem­ber 8, 1980. He would have turned 70 next year. But as fate would have it, it was John Win­ston Howard who clocked up his bib­li­cally al­lot­ted three score and 10 this year. So it goes.

I re­mem­ber vividly the day John Len­non died. I was teach­ing at Glad­stone Area School and de­cided to drive back to Ade­laide for the week­end. A truck went by and threw up a rock and the wind­screen shat­tered on my old FB Holden just as I was en­ter­ing a curve in the road.

I was lucky I didn’t roll the car or drive into on­com­ing traf­fic. I was 25 and do­ing about 100km/h. That rock could have been the end of me. I’d driven the road just enough times to re­mem­ber how to keep to the curve, even though I couldn’t see a thing. I pulled over and punched out the shat­tered glass. As I was looking at the cuts on my hand the news theme came on the ra­dio and the an­nouncer said: “John Len­non has been shot and killed out­side his apart­ment in New York City.”

The sta­tion played Imag­ine as a trib­ute to this ex­traor­di­nary man. Maybe it was the shock of the ac­ci­dent and his mur­der but I started re­mem­ber­ing when I was an eightyear-old danc­ing to the Bea­tles and singing along with John. I had flashes of the Bea­tles’ visit to Ade­laide, hear­ing Sergeant Pep­pers and the White Al­bum for the first time and the day the Bea­tles broke up. Peo­ple blamed Yoko but I didn’t be­cause I thought if John was happy why not let him live his own life? He did, and gave the world Imag­ine. It had never sounded quite as sad and poignant as that day.

He lives on through his mu­sic and his son Ju­lian from his first mar­riage and Sean, who he had with Yoko on Oc­to­ber 9, 1975. The other day I saw an ar­ti­cle on Yoko Ono. It said: “Still feel­ing good at 76”. I can’t be­lieve Yoko is 76! Mick Jag­ger is 66. The stars of the swing­ing ’60s are now in their 60s and 70s. So when a very young Mick Jag­ger sang Time is on My Side he must have had no idea what time re­ally meant.

So what does it mean? Ein­stein thought it was rel­a­tive. I could never un­der­stand the the­ory of rel­a­tiv­ity and any­one who says they can is no rel­a­tive of mine. But a friend who wasted a lot of time early on in his life when he thought he had a lot of time on his side came up with a the­ory as to why time does seem to be rel­a­tive.

It goes like this. When you are four wait­ing to turn five that year goes very slowly be­cause you have to wait 25 per cent of your life. When you are 20 wait­ing to turn 21 you have to wait just 5 per cent of your life, so time goes five times faster. You get the pic­ture. The older you get the faster it seems to go. So by the time you are Yoko’s age, time is fairly racing along com­pared to the way you ex­pe­ri­enced it as a four year old.

Time seems to go even faster for me at this time of year be­cause my birth­day is on the 11th day of Christ­mas. Thank­fully, my true love has never given me 11 pipers pip­ing. But when the New Year and your birth­day al­most co­in­cide you seem to al­ways “hear time’s winged char­iot hur­ry­ing near”.

A wise man once told me if you thought of years as money and you were born with three score and 10 in your wal­let you would open your wal­let ev­ery now and then and look at how much you had left and how you would spend it. Ac­cord­ing to that the­ory I have 15 left so I am go­ing to be think­ing very care­fully about how I spend what I have left. A wise old woman also once said the worst thing about grow­ing old was grow­ing old, but the al­ter­na­tive was far worse. So en­joy life, check your wal­let ev­ery now and then and spend your life wisely.

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