Well, that last entry didn’t explode in my face like I thought it might. I’m sure there were plenty of people who read it and bit their tongues though, just like they were taught growing up: some combination of “never discuss politics or religion” and “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Thank you to everyone for accepting that post in the spirit it was written.
This question still burns in the minds of almost everyone who was alive on that fateful day in 1977. “What day?” I here you say. August 16th 1967, of course – the day the music died. Well actually, that was February 3rd 1959 when we lost Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper in one foul swoop (excuse the pun).
But August 16th was arguably the next biggest loss to the music world. The day Elvis Presley succumbed to his lifestyle. It was a terrible day for music, but a good day for Hollywood. I’m sure no-one would want to see the film career of Elvis as he aged (dis)gracefully – just like Marlon Brando minus the acting skills.
Why do I care so much about a dead singer/actor who was gone before I was in high school? Because he ruined my 10th birthday. That’s why. But how could a fat singer, half a world away, ruin someone’s birthday?
His death was a significant enough event that even Australia knew about it almost instantly. He was found dead very early in the morning, so even with the time difference and archaic communications of the ‘70s, it was barely lunchtime here when the news broke (Australia is 6/9 hours ahead of the west/east coast of the USA).
What else happened that day?
My birthday is also August 16th. Birthdays, and the associated parties, sit very high on the agenda of 10 year olds. So I came home from school expecting balloons and cake and a bunch of friends for a party. What I found was my mother sitting in the living room, sobbing. No balloons, no streamers, no cake. Nothing.
Plus we had 12 attendees confirmed for the party, but only 1 showed up. And that was because his mother was in hospital and his father brought him. Father! Apparently men weren’t nearly as “in love” with Elvis as women were.
Scarred for life.
So there you go. While Doctor Freud would have me blame my mother for all my adulthood woes, I place the blame firmly, if posthumously, at the feet of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. That bastard made my mother cry and I’ll never forgive him. Actually… that probably plays right into the hands of Freud. Maybe it is my mothers fault and Elvis was just the catalyst. Who knows? Who cares?
I’m pretty much over all the hatred. I’ve even managed to bury the emotional scarring deep enough that no-one can detect it, even my closest family. Sometimes even me. Just don’t play Love Me Tender anywhere near me.
Here’s the freaky bit.
16 years ago I met my wife. 14 years ago I married my wife. 11 years ago my eldest child was born. On January 8th.
“So what?” you say.
“So what!” I say.
“So what?” you repeat.
“Here’s what!” I say. “January 8th. Think about it.”
OK. You obviously don’t know The King very well. Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8th 1935. My first child was born on January 8th 1995. So Elvis disappeared on my 10th birthday. My son appeared on Elvis’s 60th birthday. Oooh. Boogedy, boogedy.
My conspiracy theory isn’t that Elvis works at a 7-eleven in Backwoods, Arkansas. He also doesn’t work at a McDonalds in South America with Adolf Hitler. He did actually die…
But my theory is that Elvis self-destructed on my birthday. He then realised the trauma he had caused me and his spirit loitered around me for nearly 18 years before being reincarnated as my first-born child. All I have to do is get the kid a guitar and enter him in Australian Idol to reap the rewards that the ghost of Elvis has been preparing for me.