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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Sunday, January 09, 2005

You Were Always On My Mind, Cause Frankly, I Don't Have A Choice In The Matter

We have a lot of very important people who have come and gone through this world. Many of these people we choose to commemorate in any way we can. We do things like put their images on coins and bills or dedicate whole stamp collections to them.

Then there are the real bigwigs. These are people like Jesus, Martin Luther King and any dude you know who is a veteran. These people are really important. We know this because we get a day off, as long as we promise (fingers crossed behind our backs) to celebrate them...kinda, sorta.

But for every President's birthday, there is the inexplicable. On Saturday we had one of those days. Saturday was Elvis Presley's birthday. I'd love to wish Mr. Presley happy birthday but this is a problem for two reasons:

1. I don't know Elvis.
2. Elvis is dead.

Incidentally, this also kinda puts a damper on the whole, "how old are you now" verse of the song.

Every year we celebrate the birth of Elvis as if Elvis is being born all over again. There are Elvis Presley movie marathons and radio stations that play Elvis tunes around the clock.The only other "holiday" that even comes close to this is Christmas, but Jesus obviously didn't have the right PR reps.

But, in what is perhaps the creepiest aspect of the "celebration" is that some newspaper, somewhere feels the need to show us what Elvis would have looked like if he had been alive today. I'll tell you what he would have looked like. This year the man would have been 70. He loved to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The man would be chunky and he would have looked old.

The celebration of the birth of Elvis amazes me on so many levels really. I mean I know the guy died fairly young, even if he was already in the velour track suit phase of his life. But really, what other celebrity do we pull out all the stops for? Marilyn Monroe comes close. James Dean? Perhaps. Hey! Come to think of it, they also died young. So, given that theory, does that mean we have 50 years of computer imaging of River Phoenix's face to look forward to? God, I hope not.

No, as far as I can tell, no other celebrity comes close to getting a grip on the American public the way Elvis does, err, I mean did. Of course, if Madonna dies in the next five years or so she might have a shot at it. No pressure or anything.

But what is even MORE amazing about Elvis is that not only do we celebrate the man as if he was a huge historical figure unlike we do for any other celebrity, we actually go all out TWO TIMES a year! This January 8th thing? Hell, that's only the celebration of his birth, man! We also sneak in a montage or two to acknowledge the day the man died, on August 16, 1977. How perfect for him actually. His birth and his death so well spaced out like that. In fact, there is just enough time between the two events that you forget you just celebrated Elvis and his life oh I don't know, a mere five or six months ago.

So go ahead, have your fun. Watch your Clambake and hum you a little "Jailhouse Rock", even if you'll "groundhog day it" all again in the summer. In fact, I say we might as well finish the farce and get a day off for the man, you know, to mournfully acknowledge that Elvis has indeed, left the building. That and it would be a great day to catch up on half priced Christmas items.



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