Mystery of the Universe #35
The universe is full of mysteries and unanswered questions. They swirl around us, buzzing our ears with taunts and riddles; try as we might to squash ‘em with our epistemological fly-swatters, the little shits fly away and come back, when we least expect them, to suck our blood and lay eggs in our dreams. The ancient mysteries: “why are we here?”“Is there life after death?”“Are we cogs in a divine machine, or do we possess free will?” And of course, the age-old question: “what the fuck was Joe Cocker thinking?”
Working at a record store, I’m confronted with this mystery on a weekly basis. Every time I have to price or shelve an LP or CD of “With A Little Help From My Friends”, I have to look upon that picture and ask myself that question that has vexed philosophers, pundits, psychonauts and psychopaths for generations: “what the fuck was Joe Cocker thinking?”
Look at that album cover again. Look at it DEEPLY. Reflect on it. Resist the natural instinct to flinch away from the ghastliness of it. Stare at it with courage, with conviction, like you are gazing into the eyes of Death itself. Ask yourself THE question, over and over again, and listen to it flit around your head, filling the air with buzzing taunts and riddles.
What compels a man to pick THAT picture to put on his album? Who would look upon that image and say “Yes! That one. The one picture that looks like a flesh-eating fish has just crawled up my urethra. That picture. The one that looks like I just stuck my dick inside a bear trap. That picture. The one that looks like someone is shoving an entire Lionel train-set up my ass. That picture. The one that looks like I’m squeezing out a deuce the size of a baby Sasquatch, so huge and stanky and grotesque that only a Papal pardon can erase the shame of shitting that out into the world. That picture.”
The only reasonable conclusion that can be reached from close, prolonged study of the “With A Little Help From My Friends” album cover is that it proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Joe Cocker had NO friends when he had made that album: no true friend would let him put that picture on the cover of his record. If someone had his back, they would have insisted he keep his Tazmanian Devil O-Face off his album.
A profound and unsettling mystery of the universe, is it not? It has a lot in common with Mystery of the Universe #87: “what the fuck was Neil Diamond thinking?”
“Yes! That one. The one picture that looks like I’m cradling a baby koala against my stomach. That picture. The one that looks like I’m trying to use Chi magic to create a Dragonball Z style energy blast. That picture. The one that looks like I’m trying to cram a cobra into my navel. That one. The one that looks like I’m trying to show people how fat I’m going to get after I eat the quintuple-layer sub sandwich that’s waiting for me in the green room. That picture.”