Remember Jane Asher?

I was young, dumb and newly married. (It’s a human interest story.) I was married to a person who fixed hi-fi stereos for a living. Well, for a one-fiftieth of a living. Stereos, radios, VCRs, your garden-variety AV stuff. He would promise a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend to fix “the apparatus”; then, he would bring the apparatus home, gut it, take out transistors, resistors, lamps, neurons, chili peppers and living electricity munchkins that make things run and spin.
Then, he would leave the patient cut open with guts dangling on the table, fridge, window, washing machine for six months or more. Or more. Or more. It seemed that, once he had collected the advance social capital which comes from a promise to help, he would lose interest and move on to newer prospects.
Thus, two-thirds of the land surface of our rented apartment were always covered in apparatus mid-surgery.
Apparatus is singulare tantum, I think.
I was not allowed to touch, move, dust, breathe near, or look askance at the dismembered singularia tantum. A filament snaps, a resistor stops resisting, an electricity munchkin falls unconscious behind the sofa – and apparatus becomes debris.
“Remember Jane Asher?” my husband would ask. “Remember Jane Asher!” he would caution. “Remember what happened to Jane Asher?”
According to the Russian Beatle Lore of the time, Jane Asher, an English actress, precipitously lost the honor and privilege of being Paul McCartney’s girlfriend because she had the stupidity and the gumption to clean our Paul’s closet when he was not home, and throw out priceless early drafts of Lennon/McCartney songs.
I always imagined her out on the sidewalk, rain and tears soaking her plain-featured face; she calls up to Paul’s window for forgiveness, then slowly drags herself into obscurity, amen.
The moral of this cautionary tale was: Never Touch Your Man’s Things.
I lived by that.
I always lived by that.
No matter the man.
Some twenty years later, while not touching Man’s Things, I became interested in what did happen to Jane Asher.
OK, well.
Paul did not break up with Jane.
Jane broke up with Paul.
It was not about her touching his things.
It was about him touching other ladies.
Jane walked in on Paul in flagrante delicto. Jane walked out. Jane sent her mother to collect her things. She did not even tell Paul directly she was breaking up with him.
She broke up with Paul via national television.
Ain’t that a dream!
Jane went on to have an illustrious career in film and theater, and is still active and acting. She has been married to her husband for decades, by all appearances happily, and they’ve had a bunch of kids. When interviewers want to talk about Paul, she rolls her eyes.
I love Jane Asher.
I lived by a lie! But I’ve examined my beliefs.
Now, you know what I plan to live by?


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