Sunday, July 31, 2011
Elvis Presley -- The Crown Of Creation
Isn't that something? We've got the crown of creation narrowed down just like that. From here on out, except in us keeping Elvis' memory alive, it's all downhill. Mankind will struggle, global warming will eradicate the icebergs, robots will enslave us, winning lottery numbers will forever elude us, and finally the sun will become a red giant and wipe out everything we know. Our only hope today is Elvis, and, face it, eventually even that's not going to be enough.
But for our purposes, let's keep it on the bright side. The robots and the sun problems are still some years in the distant future. We have a full, bright future just out in front of us and for the foreseeable future, especially if we keep Elvis Presley at the center of it. I personally love Elvis -- this is true -- and what happiness I have, it's mostly Elvis.
We've already glimpsed the end of the world, above. But the world had a beginning as well. And that's where we'll start.
Formation of the Earth -- I've been seeing more and more TV shows that show the Earth being formed in a series of cataclysms lasting millions of years. Like a dust bunny, it started as one isolated piece of stone floating in space. Then thanks to gravity, many rocks came together. With gravity and heat, all of it fused together, then it was a seething, inhospitable ball of hell. The proto-moon slammed into it, then the forming moon and the forming Earth went into a tug of war/dance that helped us more than the moon. What was it all about? Whatever cosmic entity or intelligence there is at the heart of all things was preparing the way for Elvis.
Adam -- Adam came into existence. One day an unusually intelligent ape used blood and charred wood fragments to make paint, and started painting his hopes and dreams on the walls of his cave. (Train cars were not yet invented.) This mixture of thought and culture helped him bridge the gap between beast and man, and he called himself Adam. Adam's genius is not generally well-appreciated, but you try it: Go from the species you are to something a transcendental step up. It's tough to do. But he somehow knew, he glimpsed it from afar, the coming of his greatest son, Elvis, and that put a spring in his step. And one other thing, both Adam and Elvis are recognizable from their first names alone.
Buddha and Christ -- I'm lumping them together and letting them also represent other smart guys from the same general time frame, like Socrates and Plato. Buddha glimpsed that all of life was suffering, and ever would be until Elvis came. Jesus Christ took on Himself the sins of the world, freeing up man's path and clearing the way sufficiently for the coming of Elvis. The other smart guys also had their role in Elvis' arrival, Plato even glimpsing Elvis' fairly platonic relationship with Annette Day in "Double Trouble," thanks to her being an underage character most of the film.
Leonardo da Vinci -- I'm including Leonardo basically because any list of the world's great men is incomplete without him. His artwork of the naked man with the outstretched arms is the first full frontal nudity I ever saw, except for my baby brother, almost two years younger than me, having his diaper changed. Leonardo's connection with Elvis is unknown, except his notebooks have some obscure mentions, depending on how you read them, a letter on this page, a word on that page, of a "King" "of" "rocks" "and" "roll[ing wheel]."
Albert Einstein -- I have mixed feelings about Einstein. He's was a brainiac and is credited with being the Father of the Father of the Atomic Bomb, something like that. So he was very smart, but he also gets the blame, and rightly so, for a lot of destruction, and doubtless more to come. But to the extent that Einstein had anything to do with Elvis, he's OK in my book. It's interesting that he didn't die until April 1955, meaning he probably listened to and owned some of Elvis' Sun recordings. Anyone as smart as Einstein would have to see Elvis' genius.
Elvis Himself -- I was born about the time of Elvis' first recording, so what do you know about that? Then from an early age I had a deep appreciation of him, having his "Loving You" LP as my first record. Even as a five-year-old, I knew Elvis was the crown of creation. He had the greatest voice, the greatest musical instincts, and was drop-dead gorgeous. Put it all together, and with him being him, you've got something!
But think, if there wasn't a great element of destiny at work here, Elvis Presley might have remained a truck driver. We need truck drivers, of course, and I honor that. But this was Elvis, he needed to get out of that line of work and get on with his great destiny, which he did, much to my relief.
It sounds like everything is "happily ever after," but there were still flies in the ointment. For one example, we have mixed feelings about Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager. In my opinion, he gets high marks for putting Elvis out there and keeping the demand high. But he gets low marks for keeping Elvis in the movies too long and not letting him record higher quality stuff in the '60s. Yes, I treasure my Elvis soundtracks, but they're clearly inferior to his '50s and first post-Army stuff or the later '60s American Recordings tracks. One last thing, to me he also took too big a cut of Elvis' money.
OK, Elvis Presley was the crown of creation. But what about his death and the years since? It's a drag that he died. And you may have noticed, everything has gone downhill since Elvis' death in 1977. The incidence of everything bad is up starkly since, drug use, teen pregnancy, suicide, bank frauds, political corruption, sports strikes, essay questions on college exams, internet spam, terrorism, inflation, and the price of stamps. The only reason we're not all dead and gone is the continued devotion of Elvis' fans for his music and memory. And thankfully the company controlling Elvis' output keeps reissuing everything; it's like every week we get another reissue of his top 10 hits.
Do you want to be happy? I believe you do. Listen to more Elvis music! I'm happy! Already today I've listened to "Big Boss Man," "Ask Me," "It Hurts Me," "Little Sister," and "Never Ending." Pretty cool, huh?