Published in September, 2021 Boomers & Beyond
By Terry Carroll
Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside where I hide
With my loneliness
So begins a song that became a Top Ten hit for Peter and Gordon in 1964. On YouTube, you can catch a video of the P&G duo with mop-top hair, matching garb and acoustic guitars, harmonizing in the boppy style of the era to what are, after all, dark lyrics. The chorus that followed was: “I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without love.”
I googled the background of the song. It was written by Paul McCartney when he was 16 and given to Peter Asher (half of Peter and Gordon, and the brother of McCartney’s girlfriend in the 60s). John Lennon liked to joke about the song’s opening line. “Please lock me away,” Lennon would say. “Okay, end of song.”
I’m no Lennon, but I’ve wondered more than once about the different directions the chorus could have gone.
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without, for example …
The internet. Every time the power goes down, we realize the importance of what we once called the world wide web. Especially for seniors. Need the name of a business that’s on the tip of your tongue. Get out your phone. What’s the original French version of the Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me? Google it.
Safety razors. Is that what they’re still called? Not electric razors and not straight razors. It’s what my dad taught me to use, and I’ve never considered anything else.
Paper. One of the world’s great inventions, by the Chinese, right? I can still say “Chinese”, I hope, without offending. I know, I know, we’re supposed to be on our way to a paperless world, but I no decent writer gets by without paper. Lots of paper. Your first draft is always garbage. You let it sit. You print it off, you mark it up, you keyboard the changes. There’s so much you don’t see until you print it off. That leads me to:
Penmanship and handwriting. Look, I get it. Everybody uses keyboards. But if you want to be a decent writer, there are times when there’s no substitute for getting out paper and a pen and letting the words flow in a way they just don’t on a screen.
Nail clippers. When I was a child, my father would cut our fingernails with a jackknife. Or my mother would do it with scissors. But c’mon, you two. The first nail clippers were patented in 1875. Nail clippers are hardly the work of no-good modern layabouts. I don’t care what they say, I don’t want to stay in a world without them.
Or old white men. Hey, young, woke, white layabouts. Here you are lauding people in other cultures for the respect they show for their elders, and there you go taking down old white men on every street corner, in every medium, at every opportunity. These are your own fathers and uncles and grandfathers you’re dissing, which I think, Freudian genius that I am, means you hate yourselves. And this brings me back to:
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without love. This should be the rallying cry of Boomers in this moment. Our divided, political, I-won’t-let-you-talk, cancel-cultured world needs old people, of whatever colour, who once swore allegiance to love, peace and rock ‘n’ roll, to admit that rock ‘n’ may not be all it was cracked up to be.
But we don’t care what they say, we won’t stay in an angry, divided world. A world without love.