A passion to be ordinary

John Lennon is now a househusband who bakes his own bread and philosophizes about being a better father to his son Sean thus: "If don't give him attention at five, then I'm gonna have to give him double doses of it in his teen-age years. It's owed."

Talk about your sense of responsibility!

Across town, another Pied Piper of the '60s, Jerry Rubin, commutes to his Wall Street office, explaining why this is not "selling out" to all the jeerers standing by.

They just won't let a Yippie forget.

Rather than scoff at these back somersaults -- out of the counterculture, smack dab into the middle of the middle class -- we're inclined to say in the quaint language of the '60s: If it's hip to be square, then Right on!m

With all the ex-squares of the '60s trying to act out their liberation-chic fantasies in the '80s, somebody has to mind the store, and the baby. And it might as well be Jerry and John, whose only Walter Mitty dream seems to be to play walter Mitty.

Helps is on its way. As Pied Pipers of bourgeois dutifulness, John and Jerry may not pull the crowds they did when they were singing "Revolution" and shouting "Do it!" respectively, but a few other fogies are out there beside themselves.

In San Francisco a flagging band of avantgardistes, tired of being on the front edge of the front edge, have formed an organization whose motto reads, "We're out of it and proud of it." The Dull Men's Club defines its constituents as non stylists who wouldn't know Perrier from tap water, remain oblivious to the difference between Guccis and Hush Puppies, and drive Chevy Novas rather than Porsches.

An advisory letter to the 350 members recommends: "Don't waste another minute of y our precious time, another penny of your precious paycheck . . . trying to be interesting. Be Dull."m

The Dull Men's Club combines as its ideal the Lennon premise -- a stable family -- and the Rubin premise -- a steady job. No disco. No drugs. No "experience-starved" leaps for ecstacy. The Dull Men's notion of a good time is "reading a book, eating an apple . . . playing with your kid, petting your dog." They are "sort of telling you this is their life and it's not so bad."

The Dull men's Club has ambitions to establish a Dull Hall of Fame. Robert Young is being honored by consideration as a candidate, as well as Vice-President Walter Mondale. As the Dull Men fantasize things, the Hall of Fame would be a one-story cinder-block building in the center of Carroll Iowa. Carroll, Iowa they point out, is distinguished for the extraordinary number of flying saucers sighted in the neighborhood. The Dull Men speculate that if superintelligent beings come millions of light years from outeer space and then avoid New York and Los Angeles in favor of Carroll, Iowa, maybe they're dull fellows too. "I think there's a great message there," a club spokesman suggests -- as brightly as he dares.

A club can't be too careful about screening out the wrong kind. Some trendy impostors may try to sneak into the Dull Mens's Club for all the wrong interesting reasons. We would say that Jerry Rubin is on probation as dull. But John Lennon should not only be invited into the club -- he should be considered for the Hall of Fame. In a Newsweek interview he describes crossly the day Paul McCartney showed up at the Lennon door, unannounced, with guitar in hand. The househusband hit the ceiling. "I said 'Look, do you mind ringin' first? I've just had a hard day with the baby, I'm worn out.'"

They just don't make squares like that anymore.

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