Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘Beatles

I Got My First Quickie Today

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by Treadmarkz

I knew that titled would get ya. Anyway, if you don’t know, Quickie is one of the most popular brand names in wheelchairs, and they are rather expensive. In fact, I have found that it is hard to get Medical Assistance to cover one. But I got one. I guess they were feeling generous, as it is nearly Christmas. So I am back in business. Not a second too soon either. One of my wheels was just about ready to come off, and it was just a pile a garbage in general. Anyway I feel healthier already.
I spent last night reminiscing about the 8 years or so that I spent with my old wheelchair, with the song “Two of Us” by the Beatles as a backdrop.

“Two of us riding nowhere spending someone’s hard-earned pay” (Okay my wheelchair always hated that line because it felt like the song was pointing out that the only reason I had it was through Medical Assistance which was funded by tax payers. I reassured my wheelchair by reminding it that I am a tax-payer too.)

“Two of us Sunday driving, not arriving on our way back home”
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”

I am not going to miss my old wheelchair. It will be recycled post haste.

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Beatles Bash 2008

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by Treadmarkz

My wife and I went to the Beatles Bash 2008 in Mantorville, Minnesota this evening. The weather forecast called for cloud cover and probable rain, and it did sprinkle as we arrived, but as soon as the first of two Beatles “tribute” bands began playing, the clouds opened allowing the sun to shine through, or as I told my wife “So God could help pay tribute to His favorite band.” The sun shined the rest of the day uninterrupted.

I don’t “dance” too often but tonight I thought “to hell with it, this is the Beatles…sort of” so my wife and I rocked it out on the dance floor and during one of “George’s” guitar solos I pulled my leg up and played air guitar on it for a brief moment. Showing off really. I was really impressed with myself how unbridled I can get on the dance floor yet able to show everyone around me that they need not worry about getting their legs cut off by my chair.

The two bands were Liverpool Legends and The Cavern Beat. The Cavern Beat was probably more authentic to the sound of the Beatles, but only focused on the band’s early days. They only went as far as 1965, with one song from 1966, “Paperback Writer”. Cavern Beat’s “Paul” had an incredible vocal range, I thought, and emulated the real Paul’s style and mannerisms on stage, as did the band’s “John”. See, each actual Beatle had a very distinctive stance, Paul with his feet close together, legs straight, and John with his knees bent a bit, feet spread apart. Pulling that off, along with the band’s Beatlesque stage banter, the whole package helped the Cavern Beat make one feel like they were “there”. The only inconsistency I saw in this band was that their “Ringo” really did not sound or look like Ringo. But hey, who does?

Liverpool Legends rocked harder, and focused even more on the “banter” and the Liverpool humor, and they covered the span of the Beatles’ entire recording career from old cover tunes through Abbey Road, which was great, but I felt like they suffered from the same syndrome that I have seen in a few other Beatles tribute bands. It’s called the “That does not sound like George Harrison” syndrome. Funny since they were formed by George’s sister, Louise Harrison. Louise was actually at the event today. She signed autographs and gave a little talk, told some stories about George, and answered a few questions shouted up from the crowd. I wish I would have asked a question, or even went to speak with her directly. But while the chance to speak with her directly was presenting itself, I was just waiting for the next act to start, and it ended up taking a long time. So it turns out I had my chance and let it go. Which just goes to show, don’t hesitate. Take your chance when you have it. I could have shaken hands with a flesh and blood relative of one of the Beatles. I could have told her how much the Beatles have meant to me and how much respect I have for George’s honesty in his solo music.

Alas…

Great show though. Go and see Liverpool Legends in Branson, Missouri if you are in that area. They play in Branson almost all year round. I would love to see them again. My wife’s feet are tired from dancing and my hands are tired from clapping and tapping on my knees and swinging my chair around out on the floor.

On a side note, halfway through the show, a Beatles Trivia game was played by audience members. It was done in two sections, and in each section, one of the contestants was a woman with a developmental disability. I was a bit upset when the first woman could not think of the answer to her question, and the “hostess” whispered the answer in her ear allowing her to continue. No such luck for anyone else of course. Then in the second round she got her question wrong and the hostess said “We hate to see you go” followed by “Who’s next, this guy, he looks smart”. I don’t think she realized how it sounded. Plus I don’t think that what any disabled person needs necessarily is to be catered to or “given the answer.”

Just a game though. By the way, when “John” said “Here’s a slow song…for you slower folks” it was part of the act, it was authentic John Lennon, and I laughed along with everyone else, so you figure that one out.

In the second round of the trivia game, the other woman with a developmental disability got her question wrong and the hostess was very condescending toward her. “You did really good. I think you should win a prize too”. Stuff like that. I just hate this kind of crap, and I don’t think it is what anyone with a disability needs. I wonder if she would have condescended to me had I been one of the contestants. I am really bummed that I didn’t put my name in. I could have won a poster.

Paul McCartney Launches Major Fund-raising Campaign Being For the Benefit of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Paul McCartney has launched a fund-raising campaign for the Paralympics worth 2 Million Pounds, which will extend beyond the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to the former Beatle’s website. This may be partly because London will host the Paralympics in 2012, but I think Paul has shown himself to be an advocate of the disabled with his tireless work regarding the removal of active land mines. Read the full story, here.

Hell On Wheels: A Wheelchair Anthem

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by Treadmarkz

I have spent a lot of time lately listening to Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music, and I realized that the song “Helen Wheels” is not only one of the greatest pieces of block-rocking boogie that Macca ever recorded, but because of the title, with a complete overhaul of the lyrics, the song would make a great anthem for people in wheelchairs such as myself. Then I realized that no song can really cover the wide range of experiences that all people in wheelchairs will relate to.
However, this is my attempt. Take it for what it is worth:

——————–

I said farewell to a doctor from Hell who said I’d never have much of a life

That kind of clown never gets me down when I go home to my sweet wife

My early days now seem like a haze, spent a summer in a body cast

But life is good, and though I’ve never stood, I wanna make this journey last

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

L2 level para, full of metal but I never did think twice

To imagine me as I wished to be and singin’ wouldn’t it be nice

Doin’ fine and I never pine away on what I can not do

“Life ain’t fair” never goes nowhere, and you know it’s up to you

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

I can’t make sense of those who take offense when people say I’m “wheelchair bound”

That’s okay, man, I do it my way and they’ll never hold me down

Been a casualty of all that “woe is me”, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

Life is good, though I’ve never stood I think I’d do it all over again

Hell on, Hell on wheels

Everybody else thinks I got the raw end of the deal

Hell on, Hell on wheels

But I’d never have it no other way

A Whole Lot a-Shakin’ in the Life of Treadmarkz

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by Treadmarkz

I haven’t posted anything in a while because I have had a lot happening in my life. First, I have had a friend review my first draft of a novel, called “War Is Over” and now I am planning to hit that hard to get it ready for publication. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase “War Is Over”, it was an anti-war campaign initiated by John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon in 1969. But this is not an anti-war book. It is a pro-understanding book.

Secondly, I have been preparing myself for a job interview. I was interviewed today for a new position at the company I work for. New position, new responsibilities. Fun stuff! If I get the job, I look forward to the challenge! But I shan’t get my hopes up prematurely.

Thirdly, I have been exchanging emails with a couple who have two children with Spina bifida. We will call the couple Tim and Jane. I heard about them through a friend of mine and I jumped at the chance to get to know them. I think it is important for all of us with disabilities to do all we can, first to educate able-bodied people about why we are their equals in every way except some superficial and physical ways.

But also, if we meet people who are raising children with the same disability as we have, to talk with them and, even though every child is different, try to help them to understand what may lie ahead with their child, and offer them advice on how to give the child the best chance they can at being the same as everyone else. I think I can safely say that all disabled people went through that at one time or another.

“I’m different. Why? I don’t want to be different. Wait a minute…sure I am different, but barely. So what? I wish people wouldn’t treat me like I am different!”

And finally, if you have a chance to mentor a child or young adult who is going through the same things you went through at that stage of life, it is important to do so. It’s a legacy thing but it is also a way to do wonders with the knowledge that you have which may be exponentially more valuable than you think. If the parents worry about bringing up a health, happy child who is equal to his peers, think of how the child himself/herself feels!

I look forward to speaking with Tim and Jane again.

John Lennon vs. the Handicapped

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by Treadmarkz

Anyone who has read as much about the Beatles as I have probably knows that John Lennon, as a young adult, was not an outwardly sensitive creature. He maintained a gruff and tough exterior, and was known for adding just a pinch of cynicism to some of Paul’s more happy-go-lucky tunes.

Before being politically-correct was even thought of, Lennon had a ghoulish sense of humor, and was fond of drawing crude sketches of, and doing exaggerated impressions of the physically and mentally handicapped. He once insisted on shaking the hand of a veteran who had lost both arms in WWII. You may not find anything funny about this, and I certainly don’t either. Ironic maybe, but not funny.

However, I take it for what it was: a defense mechanism. I make no excuses for my musical hero. That’s just what it was. Lennon once said that the Beatles became so famous that mothers of disabled children were coming up to them and asking them to just touch their child’s hand in the hopes that it would cure the child’s ailment. The front row at their concerts was always full of kids in wheelchairs almost as though they were waiting to be annointed by the Beatles sweat. Soon this became a horrifying experience for Lennon.

There is a reason that I feel that it was not in John Lennon’s true nature, nor was it his true intention to be cruel toward people less physically or mentally “fortunate” than him. In 1972, Lennon put on a concert to benefit mentally disabled children. It was his way of making right on his past immaturity. And not only did he put on the show, he wanted to release an album of the show for charity as well, but that didn’t happen until 1986. This was 1972, remember, when a charity concert was not a popular thing to do, and if it was done, it was like the Monterrey Pop Festival with a dozen bands on the bill. The 1972 Lennon show was just Lennon and his band.
I have a tattoo which reads “Imagine” because I know that mocking the mentally disabled may have been one of Lennon’s quirks, but open-mindedness and imagination were his message.