While My Guitar…
Is it possible that you, the staunchest and most loyal of Beatle fans, could ever imagine a circumstance where an iconic trophy of no less prestige than a guitar that had been autographed by George Harrison is purposely destroyed, and you actually support and even cheer this action? Hold on, don't answer too quickly. First you must hear the story, and then you can decide. Sound fair? Okay then, listen up:
George Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001. A legal complaint was filed shortly after on behalf of his estate, claiming that Dr. Gilbert Lederman, a radiation oncologist, had sometimes brought along his family while visiting the dying Harrison. On one occasion the family began to sing, forcing the former Beatle to gasp, "Please stop talking." The complaint also alleges that later Lederman had his 12 year old son play guitar for the captive Harrison, after which he asked him to autograph the guitar.
"I do not even know if I know how to sign my name anymore," pleaded Harrison.
The complaint claims that Dr. Lederman then picked up Harrison's hand and guided it, saying "Come on, George, you can do this. G-E-O..."
The suit was eventually settled out of court. One of the stipulations was that the guitar that Harrison had been forced to sign must be "disposed of." How the guitar was destroyed has never been made clear, but I'm sure you'll now agree that getting rid of the musical instrument that surely would have become known as "George Harrison's Death Guitar" was the proper thing to do.
Or perhaps not. Maybe the guitar should have instead been preserved and hung on a wall, with Harrison's shaky signature serving as a stark and cruel reminder to us all that people, and especially sick and dying people, should be treated with kindness and dignity. And even better, instead of the guitar, maybe it should have been the callous Dr. Lederman himself who should have been disposed of.
With kindness and dignity, of course.