Friday, June 5, 2015

Beatles Therapy

Like any responsible therapist, I undergo roughly a year of therapy every three or four years. I've tested out a lot of psychotherapists, some great, some less so. A few months ago, I decided it was time to start again.

This time, though, I had a hard time settling on one. I found something wrong with all of them. Late. Early. Stripper shoes, and what the hell kind of question is that? I would never ask a client something so stupid. Eye makeup that does nothing for her eye shape. Was I being reasonable, or was this what Sigmund Freud might call resistance? I didn't know. I just knew I couldn't see any of these therapists again.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I found the right person. I knew I'd been right to reject the others.

I didn't expect instant results, but I was a bit taken aback when, at the end of our third session, my new therapist - the good one! - asked me what she should do for me.

"You tell me! You're the therapist!" I thought, but was afraid to say so. Afraid because I wondered if she thought I was such a total mess she had no clue where to go. I'd thought the theme of this particular session had been quite clear, and was surprised she didn't seem to think so.

But maybe she knew exactly what she was doing, because out of nowhere, something that passed for an answer came pouring out of my mouth, almost as if I was speaking in tongues.

"You know who my favorite Beatle is?" I didn't wait for her to answer. "Ringo. He's the only one who knew how to relax and enjoy the ride."

I'm a long time admirer of Ringo Starr. Born Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England on July 7, 1940, Ringo rose from his humble beginnings to become the drummer for a popular rock band.

I'll let him tell you his true story himself.

In the U.S.A. when we played Shea
We were number one and it was fun
When I look back, it sure was cool
For those four boys from Liverpool

Everything I love about Ringo is summed up in these four lines, the second one in particular. We were number one and it was fun. It's that simple. 

Ringo is laid back, happy-go-lucky. As one of the most popular people in the world, it would, in his opinion, be unspeakably silly to worry about whether or not he's the most popular Beatle. He's a wonderful dancer, but even if he weren't, he would still dance. He doesn't care if you think he's wise. It's not important to him to prove he's an artiste. In fact, he has nothing to prove at all. He doesn't care what you think of his nose. He doesn't care what he thinks of his nose. Stomach problems prevent him from enjoying Indian food, which is a shame. But fuck it, he'll just have some bangers and mash.* Whatever.

The Johns and Pauls of the world may feel persecuted, but such a thing would never cross Ringo's mind. He's grateful, but he never uses the world "gratitude." 

Paul once advised Michael Jackson that the buying music rights was the way to get rich. Michael Jackson took Paul's advice to heart, and outbid him on the rights to his own songs. Paul, who has more money than he, his children, and their children will ever know what to do with, was nevertheless deeply resentful. On principle. 

I'm not knocking Paul. I'd feel exactly the same way, because I'm Paul and I know it. It never occurred to me I could be anything else. Paul. GOD. I was consigned to a lifetime of being Paul.

That's not what I wanted. I wanted to be Ringo. Ringo is filthy, stinking rich, and doesn't bother with lawsuits that "aren't about the money." He knows that of course it's about the money, and since it's about the money, why bother? He's set. 

Ringo is so enlightened, he knows enlightenment is a waste of time. Life has tuned out better than he ever dreamed. He doesn't feel entitled, nor does he feel unworthy. He takes it as it comes. Each new day is a pleasant surprise.

Is he 100% satisfied with his life choices? No. There are times when he thinks he should have been a humanitarian instead of a pop star. 

Yes, he's only human.  Occasionally, he feels wistful. Sometimes, he even gets a bit peeved, and he isn't afraid to defend himself. 

Do you think Ringo gave Larry King another thought once the interview was over?  Did he fret about how disrespectful Larry had been, and, conversely, worry he'd overreacted and viewers might think he was a bitch? Nope. Out of sight, out of mind. He hasn't forgotten. When someone brings it up, he chuckles, , then promptly forgets about it again. When he sees Larry King, he doesn't feel awkward. He gives Larry a pleasant hello and then moves along, because he and Larry don't have much in common, and Ringo doesn't see any point in engaging in tedious small talk. 

I might have him all wrong, but I guarantee Ringo is not the least bit worried about it. 

I never dared to dream I could be Ringo instead of Paul, but in a single moment of clarity, I realized that was my therapeutic goal. I want to be Ringo. 

I've never been one for affirmations, but I may tape the word Ringo up in a few odd places, just for inspiration. Later, I'll forget to take them down, because while Ringo doesn't waste time on affirmations, he feels no disdain for them, either. He is totally indifferent.

The rest of my 30s, and possibly beyond, will be spent trying to become a person who could, theoretically, write a memoir entitled "Becoming Ringo," but who feels no need to do any such thing. I'll do whatever I have to do. I'll climb any mountain, cross any ocean. When I'm done, I'll shrug and say, "Yeah, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. I swam the English Channel. It was fun." 

* Correction. Ringo adheres to a very strict diet. There are no bangers and mash involved. On Sunday, his cheat day, he allows himself a single cup of coffee and a potato. 


  1. What an utterly perfect analogy! I've been on a path to Ringo as well. I don't know that I was ever Paul, maybe more George....but yeah - Ringo man, he is the one to emulate. I end all of my journal entries with "be kind, be loving, just be" and my real "ah hah!" moment was a few months ago when I realized the truly living moment to moment is the way to go. I breathe, slow things downs and just simmer in and celebrate life and it's pretty damn fantastic! Good luck tapping into your inner Ringo ;)

  2. Ringo. Everything we need to know is captured in that one word.