May 10. The year was 1960. It was a leap year. A dozen eggs cost 57 cents. In the 60’s, the world rose up and broke rules. The rules were broken when Iris Rankin and Bobby Hewson fell in love. After all, love has no rules. Their union gave us a human being who was destined for fame and humanitarianism after rising from his own ashes.
As the story goes, Paul David Hewson came into this world crying and did so for three years before finally settling down (Bono from U2 by U2). The events that shaped his life were hard lessons for a young man; his mom passed away at a young age and his dad suppressed any dream to which he dared to aspire. The moment he entered school he was fixing for a row with anyone who crossed him.
One of the aspects of Bono’s personality that I admire so much is how he grew on this spectacular journey. How he was willing to deconstruct his ego in order for him to be the performer he wanted and needed to be. Many people sometimes live in denial of their situations perfectly happy to move through life sleeping. Bono chose to move through life fully awake. Coming from a small Dublin town born of a Catholic father and Protestant mother, street fighting and general trouble in the country in the way of domestic terrorism was a daily occurrence. On September 25, 1976, just sixteen years old, he answered Larry Mullin’s ad to form a band. Less than ten years later, he married his steady girlfriend who he has loved since 1975…Ali Stewart. Four children and an entire musical career later, they’re still married. And interestingly enough, the couple’s oldest daughter also shares her dad’s birthday and turns 21 today!
These days, there are people who sharply criticize his involvement with politics and the choices he makes in his life (is there EVER a story I write in which I don’t mention the “haters”?) Contrary to popular belief, he never fancied himself a hero and doesn’t think he deserves the title. He’s sees his humanitarian work as work we all should be doing, on any level, big or small. A self-conscious man with suffering self-esteem who craved attention saw only one vocation for him and he pursued it with great vigor, KNOWING from the moment he answered Larry’s ad that this is what he was going to do with his life. After all, he needed to have arenas full of fans screaming and proclaiming their love for him so that he could feel accepted.
We are all a product of our environment which shapes our ideals and our belief systems based on our experiences and Bono is no different. He’s human like the rest of us and chooses to use his celebrity to further the most urgent and important causes of our time. In my eyes, he’s a man who has accepted his journey with open arms and was led to become one of the most influential people of our time and made his designer shades one of the most recognizable pieces of pop culture of the last two decades.
Happy Birthday to you and your daughter Jordan, Bono! Keep doing the magnificent work that you do with the band, and thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for those in need! All of us fans appreciate the artist and person you are. Today, we raise a pint to you! Cheers!