A star's life expectancy depends on its mass.
Generally, the more massive the star, the faster it burns up its fuel supply, and the shorter its life.
A star with a mass like the Sun, however, can continue fusing hydrogen for about 10 billion years.
Which brings me to the McCartney concert which I attended last night at MetLife Stadium (shouldn't Citifield be named that?) which is out in the Meadowlands (Is that why Tony named his daughter Meadow? In honor of all the bodies he deposited there?). It was a really intimate affair. It was just me and 82,566 other phone lit people.
And yet no one was there. Stay with me. We are so going places. More than you know.
I have seen Paul in every single decade since 1975, the year he earned his Wings and seeing him has become a kind of personal pilgrimage.
He has become a shining example of a hushed, cherished past made both vibrant and visible. His Pan-like insistence on looking and acting twenty years younger than his actual years only reinforces the illusion of forever which the Beatles themselves, like most heroes and villains, embody.
John and George may be long gone, but their photographic images, alongside that of young Paul and Ringo, will never age and most certainly will never die. Certainly not for the next 10 billions years.
The illusion of their living presence is really no different than the stuff that is our our own, personal, illusion filled dreams that we mistake and insist is our real lives.
Actual life: the shock show that stars Trump, ISIS, mass killings and all the other things that the nightly news anchors/crypt keepers grimly report to us is too much to process or bear.
Music offers us the quickest escape route out. In just a few spare notes, we are instantly propelled right out of the galaxy Star Trek style and we soar, freestyle, like a baby's about to erupt, unstoppable belly laugh, on the curve of a perfect melody, as we head towards the infinite wow of now.
We humans were created to be transportable on demand, with our feet never having to leave the ground and we do it with the greatest of acrobatic ease.
Few of us actually know Paul McCartney. Most don't. But his well-mannered, eager-to-please like-a-show-biz-destined-kid in a living room full of adoring relatives presence makes us all feel like the loving, hand-clapping proud parents that most of us are now.
It's not surprising that Paul's brother Michael has always referred to Paul as "Our Kid" even though Michael is the older sibling or that his dad's favorite phrase was "put er' there" which came attached to an outstretched, ready to shake hand.
While the Rolling Stones now look like the cast of a severely weathered beaten Mount Rushmore, Paul, not unlike the Energizer Ether Bunny, just keeps going and going and going.
Years ago during a Sting concert at The Greek Theater, someone yelled out "I love you" and right on the beat, Sting answered, "But you don't know me."
That was true then and it was true last night.
I watched lusting, wet-eyed middle-aged women and mournful men in belly drooping Beatles tee shirts stare at the mammoth sized TV screen images of Paul with the kind of adoration that is usually reserved for state funerals and the rare times that the Yankees actually win a game.
Paul on stage, from where I was sitting, by contrast, was the size of child's plastic sewing thimble, but it was his outsized video image that, in the merry musical moment, was more popular than the Jesus that everyone had come ready and eager to praise.
For my generation, daydreaming is our form of the daily commute. Some live to hop aboard the flash escaping Sullivan's Travel Hobo Express of our past while the rest of us drift far, far away, like the 30 million just released into the universe red balloons that we are.
Last night, against the dark matter dark of night, whose stadium landscape was dotted with a (Samsung) galaxy of thousands of star lit phones, we communed like the gravity dependent, orbiting planets that we children of stardust really are. We sang fearlessly, openly (and often brutally off key) with complete abandon while we privately yearned and ached for a simpler, far more erotic and tuneful time.
Every familiar-as-our-own-parent's-lullaby-song that sprang from the guitars and keyboard of that precise recreation-al back up band on the run, twisted our hearts like hand-warm Playdoh and forced us, as if instructed, to try to wring out the gallons of toxic anguish from our own, personal dirty life laundry like the rock beating dhobis along the banks of the contaminated Yamuna River in Dehli whose stains were born out bitterness, loss, quiet desperation, chronic invisibility and the feeling of having to be so damned grown up all the time.
And we got to sing while we did it.
To Paul we were one single mass of faceless energy and to us he was the projected reminder of our once upon a time dreams, lust and unfiltered inspiration.
At moments, I could literally hear women's hearts flutter like a professional gambler's deck of cards.
I heard men sing mournfully like a Lost Boys Shipwrecked Choir.
In those moments, for most of the night really, no one was there. Physically yes. But spiritually everyone, including Paul, were somewhere else.
We paid and got paid top dollar for the right to drift like Central Park toy sailboats aimlessly, to skim along its fragile glass surface or to submerge deep into its ink black depths at will, in search of the Atlantis that we all keep looking for and never seem to find.
So what was the ultimate reward?
When we go to these stadium-sized concerts we are, I think, really in concert with each other, literally celebrating mass, mutually smitten as if we all in fell in love at the very same moment, as the exalted high priests of rock and roll offer us the sacrament of divine grace. It is for all intents and purposes, the rock of ages.
We are in one, brief, shining moment of time, rescued, resuscitated, reaffirmed and most importantly, returned.
And other words we have finally found Atlantis and it is called home.