It’s a tradition here in the palatial south Vernon offices of Black Press’ Morning Star outlet.
All new employees, given a week or so to, er, settle in, are asked one simple question as a way to welcome them to the team:
Name the four Beatles.
If they can, awesomeness and no mocking.
If they can’t, well, the silent treatment kicks in, as does the mocking, and the probationary period gets extended which can be ended sooner if they bring in treats for the office.
Morning Star and Lake Country Calendar publisher Chris Mackie was the last person to pass the test as he correctly identified John Lennon (we do give the newbies a bit of a break if they can only recall first/last names), Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
But then, Chris has a bit of an advantage over some recent hires.
He’s old. Er, old-er.
There was no hesitation on Chris’ part. The four names came out faster than you can say Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was exhilarating and briefly restored my faith in mankind.
Because there are others who, for their own protection, will remain nameless after giving these fine answers which led to the question asker sobbing uncontrollably:
“No, sorry. I don’t listen to The Beatles.”
“I know Elton John wasn’t a Beatle.”
“There’s Ringo Starr. I know this because he collects art pieces. John, maybe?”
And, of course, my personal favourite which at least three (three) rookies have uttered:
“John, Paul, Ringo, and…Man, I think it starts with a G. Greg?”
Yes, Greg Harrison, he of the classics Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun. Newbies who at least have heard of the Beatles almost always forget George.
My Gen X and Millennial co-workers, who refer to me as Uncle Rog because I’m old, I’m a boomer and I make them call me that, are quick to counter the question by asking me if I can name the members of One Direction, which I’m led to believe is also a musical group.
Full disclosure: I can’t.
I think one is named Harry. But that’s not the point. The point is I have seniority, I have good taste in music and The Beatles have far outsold One Direction in terms of record sales.
The Beatles, I plead to the younger generation, wrote about peace and love and never used swear words. The Fab Four’s music is timeless. You won’t hear One Direction, Cardi B, The Weeknd or Drake on the radio in 50 years.
I understand everyone has their own music tastes.
But if not for the greatest band in music history, there wouldn’t be a lot of other music. And I just think as the band that has sold more records than anybody in history, it’s imperative we in the media business know who they are.
So keep this in mind when you land a job with us. John. Paul. George. Ringo.
As a boomer, I try to impart my knowledge, my experience to my co-workers. But sometimes, it’s a long and winding road.