It was circa 1969-1970. He was “cool” then, “high” and dealing pot at a local Guess Who concert. I was making music with some guys and he lived upstairs from us. We all shared the common bath in the house with the lesbians next door
His conversation and appearance hadn’t really changed. He still had his pony tail but was a bit bald on top.
I on the other hand was the staff psychiatrist in a suit and tie and no longer wearing the tie die shirts he was still sporting. He raved about the asylum food being really great and wanted to show me his very own room. I followed him down the institutional halls to where his single bed and chair with the metal side table was. A cassette deck radio belted out tinny 60’s songs.
He told me he still wanted to see the Beatles. “That’s my greatest ambition, man”. When I said, “they’ve broken up, and Lennon’s dead.” he’d looked really seriously at me and shook his head.
“Naw, man, not you too.”
Then he walked away back down the empty hall in his own world where Lennon still lived and the Beatles were ever together.
I thought, there but for the grace of God go I. I wondered too if his “zen” wisdom back in those “good ole days” hadn’t just been early schizophrenia.
On the other hand I had to wonder as I hurried off, harried as ever, running from one medical crisis to the next and always just one step ahead of the taxman, if he didn’t have
the better deal. A room of his own, three square, John Lennon alive, the Beatles still together , and the taxman paying.