Of saints, sinners and relics

John Lennon’s tooth is for sale. That was one of the weirdest sentences I’ve ever written.

Omega Auctions of Cheshire, UK is handling the sale (Cheshire Cat joke, anyone?). The molar/memorabilia has been projected to fetch £10,000, although as Omega’s Karen Fairweather said, with requisite British understatement, “It is a truly unique item and it is really difficult to put a value on it.”

The mind absolutely boggles. It’s a tooth. Enamel and bone. Unique? Sure. Value? Whatever the tooth fairy is paying these days.

John Lennon famously said once that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. That was early on, when neither he nor the other Liverpool lads nor anyone else in history had any frame of reference for the levels of fame they were experiencing.

Later he struggled to convince people of something that should have been, and still should be, obvious: he was just a guy. He was a guy who was insanely talented, and more than a little weird…but he was a flesh and blood fella who experienced occasional intestinal distress and (evidently) tooth decay, just like the rest of us.

What he wasn’t was some kind of Olympian hero who deserved to have his dental detritus preserved for the ogling and enrichment of future generations.

Because that’s the sort of insanity that leads to another sort of insanity: the sort we saw outside the Dakota one snowy evening in 1980. Hero worship breeds icon worship, which can only breed iconoclasm. And the only thing iconoclasts can do, is destroy.

It’s too late for John Lennon. His iconoclast already struck. But as a regular guy, who probably would have appreciated a few more decades to spend with his family, he’d likely decline the deification of his crumbly old tooth.

And it’s not too late for others, for regular guys and gals who might have a knack for playing music or acting in films or hey, even writing books. These people might (or might not) deserve fame, and money, and even fans. But fanaticism? Of the kind that turns teeth into commodities? No one deserves that.

So for all future John Lennons, let them enjoy long happy lives. Stop the hero worship. It gets people killed.

And for pete’s sake, throw away that nasty disgusting tooth.

About editor, facilitator, decider

Doesn't know much about culture, but knows when it's going to hell in a handbasket.
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