Enabling Elvis

I don’t know if you guys know this about me but I love Elvis Presley. Don’t go buy me some Elvis tchotchkes, unless they are functional and in good taste, no…not even then. I don’t love him in that way. I just love his music. And when I’m not listening to Howard, I listen to the all Elvis station on Sirius radio. In fact, I even have it pre-set.

Now, my Elvis enjoyment has been going on since I was a kid and I choreographed a tap dance to the tune of Blue Suede Shoes and tried to win a choreography contest at my dance school. I didn’t win and I was mad at my mom for days after, thinking that if she’d only have let me dye my tap shoes blue…that would have clinched it for me. Instead the honors went to an older girl (16) who had made-up a dance, with a lot of three-point turns, to Lionel Ritchie’s, “Dancing on the Ceiling”. It was a crowd pleaser. In retrospect, I can see how Blue Suede Shoes would have been a downer.

There’s a lyric in a Public Enemy song, it’s escaping me right now, (Burn Hollywood Burn?) where it’s mentioned that Elvis was racist, I believe the sentiment is “fuck him and John Wayne.” I didn’t know that Elvis was racist – I hate to assume he was just because he was Southern. Is it more closeted racism – as in he stole moves from the black culture and “invented” rock and roll? I’m in denial if he was racist.

Other people are in denial too as I’m learning by listening to this all Elvis channel. The channel is actually run out of Tennessee, not far from Graceland. Most people interviewed on the show are women who were in films with Elvis (he was smooth from the stories they tell, although they never admit to sleeping with him.), and guys who toured with Elvis as part of his entourage.
One guy told some story, which took 15 minutes to tell, it was torture, all to get to this point. He showed up at Graceland one time (this made the DJ take a moment of silence and say that Graceland impressed him more than the Oval Office). Anyway this guy gets to Graceland and Elvis is there with his father, who is propping Elvis up. Elvis is carting around an oxygen tank and he doesn’t look good. He’s only 29. Elvis takes off his oxygen mask and jokes, “I just got back from L.A. The smog is killing me.” Ha. Ha. Ha.

Yeah. Great joke. Why was Elvis on oxygen at age 29??? Oh, well of course this enabler-man-from-the-entourage said that Elvis had a “lung condition.” Oh….a lung condition. Got it. It couldn’t have been the diet of pills. I’m not judging but why do people from the fifties still deny this about Elvis? Rock stars are still popular even if they are on drugs, in fact probably more so.
This guy was also saying that he and Elvis would “drive all night long.” Elvis was really good at “staying up all night.” YOU THINK?

He also said that Elvis loved to talk all night and analyze the music of Roy Orbison and then would park the camper and want to throw the football around. The enabler chuckled and mentioned quickly, that Elvis, from being in the service, had learned about diet pills and he took them for his health.

God, bless this man for not caring that he was held hostage by a speed-freak, narcissist who got everyone around him to do whatever he wanted. I can’t imagine the anxiety of driving too fast in a tipsy camper with Elvis behind the wheel, popping “diet pills” like they were Mike and Ikes, blathering endlessly about Roy Orbison. I’ve never liked Roy’s voice or music. It makes me feel like someone’s molesting me. Have you ever listened to someone talk about music when you know nothing about music? It’s worse than someone busting out an acoustic guitar when you’re just sitting around with friends.

Can you imagine being so tired from staying up all night and then throwing a football to Elvis, the way you play with a kid when you’re hoping to tire them out? “Let me throw this one more time…dear God please let him not throw it back. Please. I’m fading.”

In the same way that I wish the voice of God would boom out over Earth and tell all these right-wingers that they are wrong, but forgiven, I want Elvis to appear and say, “Hey idiots. You sad star-f’ing, co-dependents are the reason I’m dead.”


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