There’s a rather famous photo of John Lennon taken after he moved to Manhattan. It’s a torso-up shot of him with crossed arms, standing on a rooftop, wearing sunglasses and a sleeveless white t-shirt that simply says “New York City.” It’s become an icon of not just John but also the city he adopted. Bohemians, musicians, buskers and freedom writers all over the city have it hanging on their walls, courtesy of the street vendors at just about every corner selling NYC memorabilia of every stripe, classy to chintzy.

Seemingly off-topic for just one second: there’s a guy at my church named Rusty, and he is the epitome of cool. First off, his name’s Rusty; how cool is that? Furthermore, for about 15 years, he managed a shop that sold musical instruments, mainly electric guitars. The pièce de résistance: he looks exactly like John Lennon. Put some mirror shades on him and you’re done. Like I said, new levels of cool.

One Saturday my wife and I were walking home from the Central Park Zoo, like we had many times before. It was springtime in the city, and droves of people were out and about. In New York City, where there are droves of people there are hawkers of various goods. Around Central Park, a particularly popular item to sell is a photo print of a famous New York site or person, including that one of John Lennon in the t-shirt. We passed one such vendor on 5th Ave. when Ruthanne got a quizzical look on her face.

“That guy’s selling a picture of Rusty.”

Befuddled, I turned to look at what she was pointing to. When I did, I gave a disappointed sigh. “No, that’s a picture of John Lennon.”

Blank stare from my wife. “Who?”

“He was a Beatle. He’s very famous.”

“Oh, okay, I’ve heard of the Beatles.” I had a sneaking suspicion that was only because we got Rock Band: The Beatles for the Wii the previous Christmas, but I said nothing. “Wow, John Lennon looks just like Rusty.”

I groaned, utterly defeated by my wife’s complete lack of knowledge about pop culture. “No! Rusty looks just like John Lennon!”

Considering my musical pop culture hyper-awareness. it may seem strange that I married a woman who hears the name George Clinton and thinks, “wait, isn’t it Bill Clinton?” Scratch that – it is strange. What connects us and makes us love each other is bigger than that, though. I can’t put it into words, so I won’t dishonor it by trying.

Let’s just say Ruthanne pays no attention to what’s cool, hip or trendy, and thus has no idea what used to be cool, hip or trendy. She knows what she likes, though, and she’s very nonchalantly impassive about what she likes; no one can convince her to not like it. We spend so much time trying to be cool, and the essence of cool is originality and not caring what other people think. If that’s true, than Ruthanne is probably the coolest person to of ever lived. Cooler than Rusty, and yes, even cooler than John Lennon.

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