Rick's List — When I'm 64 Edition
By most accounts, Paul McCartney wrote the music and melody for "When I'm Sixty-Four" when he was still a teenager. Rock 'n' roll was still in its early years, and Macca thought at that point his musical future might well be writing cabaret songs.
Years later, when it came time for the Beatles to record "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely-Hearts Club Band," Paul remembered the long-ago tune and brought it in, believing correctly that its neo-Vaudevillian style would work within the album's concept of an Edwardian military band. It was only then that he fleshed-out lyrics to offer a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek vision of "old age."
I turned 64 earlier this week, and it's clear to me that, for all his genius, McCartney had little clue as to what life would be like three-score-plus years down the road. If he had, I think the words would have been very different. I can imagine the scene at Abbey Road Studios:
Paul: "Hey, Ringo, you carry around a rhyming dictionary, right?"
Ringo: "Always! What do yer need?"
Paul: "Working on a bloody bugger of a tune about being 64-years-old. See if you find something that rhymes with 'arthritis' or — wait, I know! — 'hemorrhoids.'"
Engineer Geoff Emerick: "What are you doing here, Yoko? You don't appear at a Beatles session until 'Fool On the Hill' for 'Magical Mystery Tour,' several months from now.'"
I suspect present-day Sir Paul regards "When I'm Sixty-Four" as naive and quaint. After all, he's now 12 years older than 64 and STILL tours to frenzied crowds with one of the best bands and catalogs in the world — and, no, "When I'm Sixty-Four" is not on their nightly setlist.
But he's Paul and I'm Rick, and there's a big difference. That's why, on my birthday morning, my wife Eileen woke me up and surprised me with an outing. We:
1. Shopped for a coffin.
2. Updated the idiotic will I made in my 20s that basically divided my books and records between three guys who are already dead (sorry, Jamie, Tim and Ron).
3. Took a nap.
4. Watched episodes of favorite shows from youth — "The Andy Griffith Show," "Leave It to Beaver," "Gilligan's Island" and Bergman's hilarious "Winter Light" — and resignedly calculated that, other than a few, the cast members are dead. All dead...
4. Went back to the casket shop and put down a deposit on a mahogany model with an actual window at face level on the lid so curious folks in the future can break into the mausoleum to see how I'm doing.
5. "This is kinda foul," one of them will say, peering through the glass in 2025, "but I don't see much difference between now and when he was 64."