35. “Twist and Shout,” The Beatles

I think I own Beatles music because I feel it’s my duty as a music fan.

There, I said it. When I was in my 20’s I felt like there were certain classic albums music fans had to have, and to like. Sgt. Pepper’s, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. I have them, I totally appreciate their roles in music history, and I do like them for the most part. But do I LOVE them? If somebody told me I could never listen to them, would I shed a tear? Not really. Try to take my Stevie Ray Vaughan music away, though, and I will hurt you.

This is all kind of beside the point of what this song means to me, though. It’s getting rarer and rarer that I get to say, “No, I’m too young for that.” So I’m happy to say that I’m far too young to have been alive during The Beatles’ reign.

So what this song reminds me of is not Beatlemania, but, surely like most of my generation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s Matthew Broderick in a leopard-print vest, slickly lip-syncing on a parade float through the streets of Chicago.

I was 13, a few years younger than the characters in the movie, when I saw it with family friends in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was one of those movies that left me energized as a kid, where I walked out of the theatre feeling like the world had changed for the better somehow, like I had changed. The Star Wars movies did that, the first two Superman movies did that. But this one did it in a different way. Ferris Bueller was a real guy – he didn’t have the Force, he wasn’t faster than a speeding bullet. He was an Earthling, who had a different kind of force, who was slicker than a speeding Bugatti.

I wanted to be Ferris. I wanted to have that force, whatever it was, that he had. He totally had a power over people, he could so easily bring them to his side simply through his charming existence. I had the thick, dark hair, dark brown eyes, slim build. I was halfway there, right?

So wrong. What Ferris was was the extrovert ideal. Everybody loved him simply because he was outgoing, he talked to everybody, he had a smile for everybody. Even I, a total introvert even then, was completely charmed by him – like I said, I wanted to be him.

Funny thing is, I was really more like his best friend Cameron. I was the quiet kid who watched the outgoing kids do their thing with a mixture of envy and dread. It really was, and is to this day, a real paradox in my brain. I feel like life would be so much easier if I were more like that. Maybe even more fun. But I also find the thought of it horrifying. I like myself a lot more than I did then, I’m more comfortable with myself the way I am. I know it’s not me to be the back-slapping, smiley “how are ya!” guy, and that’s okay. I have other things to offer that they don’t.

Where would Ferris be now, I wonder, as a guy in his mid-late 40s? I bet he barely graduated high school and didn’t go to college, but he found a way to be successful. Maybe he’s got his own real estate brokerage, been divorced a couple of times, bought his own Ferrari. He’s that person in every office who just keeps getting promoted because they can schmooze, even though they may not be the best person for the job. And he probably barely remembers that afternoon he lip-synced “Twist and Shout” on a parade float. Until Cameron comes over for a beer and reminds him. I would so remember.

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