Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Comeback Special

Pix of me recreating Elvis' Guitar Man production number

It's been terrible being homeless and broke. I've always had trouble in my life, of course, but nothing like what came from the "Share This Empty Wallet" curse. The Curse Blob took away everything I had, short of the clothes on my back and a few incidentals. I found that life's a bitch, a real bastard. But it also reminded me a lot about myself, the stuff you don't think of till you're down and out. One pleasant surprise I got was, I'm still an incredibly fast runner, given a drumstick in good enough condition and a camp of emaciated bums on my tail. Age hasn't slowed me down.

Among the other things I learned, or was reminded of was, This is no way to live. Which is why I spent some time looking deeply into myself to find a way back. Curse or no curse! And for me, there's one constant, one source of strength and renewal, as true now as when I was 5-years-old, Elvis Presley. Just the sight of Elvis, or the sound of his voice, or being reminded of his great songs and movies, is all I need. If push came to shove, I could literally hulk out over Elvis, OK?

Then I started thinking of the '68 Comeback Special, and immediately set out after my own comeback. In one of the hobo jungles I traded a moldy (albeit well-scraped) donut for a guitar and took off. Standing at the edge of town I sang a plaintive, "Nothingville," bidding a fond farewell to my "rat's race-snail's pace" hometown. Middle finger up, "Sayonara, suckers!" Because it took me a while to get a ride, I lapsed into Three Dog Night's "Easy To Be Cruel," an old hitchhiking tradition of mine since the '70s.

Going all the way from the upper Midwest to Mobile, Alabama, is one ambitious hitchhike. But it had to be done for the sake of my comeback. I had so many rides with oversexed tubby men -- my least favorite variety among sexual opportunities -- that I stopped in this one joint for a decent rendezvous with the ladies. They immediately saw I had the old Presley swagger on and were on me, me encouraging them with "Let Yourself Go." "Cool it, baby, you ain't got no place to go, just put your arms around me real-tight, Enjoy yourself, baby, don't fight. All you gotta do is just ... let yourself go." Ummm! That's the sweet spot, baby.

I got stuck along the way and needed to pick up a few bucks. I've done this before -- such as with Manpower -- and you never know what you're going to get. This time I met this big bastard at a bar, who told me to come over and move some boxes for him. When I say "bastard," I know bastards very well. This guy was treating his lady badly, very typical stuff, but something that still gets me. My inner-Elvis, naturally, was riled up and I ended up in a no-holds-barred fight with "Big Boss Man." "Well, you ain't so big! You just tall, that's all!"

But it turned out his lady saw more of a future with the big boss man than a guitar man like me, even though I sought to convince her with "It's Hurts Me." "It hurts me to see him treat you the way that he does. It hurts me to see you sit and cry. When I know I could be so true, if I had someone like you. It hurts me to see those tears in your eyes." I fought Big Boss Man, but the squeeze stayed behind, foolishly choosing that lunk over me. Which really did hurt me.

Anyway, I had Mobile, Alabama in mind. I would keep going -- the highways lit up through the night with headlights and taillights -- as long as I physically could. Finally, though, I had to have a decent meal, and got it by performing at this joint that also featured a stripper called Little Egypt. One look at her and I could tell why the Egyptians have had such an enduring culture. Her dance, yummy, delicious, made me think of the shifting sands and the great pyramids.

With a bit of money in my pockets as well, I thumbed my way all the way down to Mobile, Alabama, and did a couple Elvis gigs at a club they call Big Jack's. Reflecting on my challenges since the Empty Wallet Curse, I came to embody my "Trouble." "You're looking for trouble, you come to the right place. You're looking for trouble, just look in my face. I was born standing up and talking back. My daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack. Because I'm evil, my middle is misery. Yeah, I'm evil .... So don't you mess around with me." I do this real sultry pronunciation of evil like "Evolll," sneering my lip up real cool.

So that's how it went. I didn't need to be there forever. I just had to know I'd been there, I'd made the full pilgrimage. By the time I got home, I knew I'd have the answer. It worked for the original (and there's only one) Elvis Presley, my hero, my spirit guide, and possibly my true father, on the off chance that my mother met him in 1952, which she didn't. She was in the same room with Elvis, backstage in 1956, but by then I was already 3.

The Guitar Man was headed back home, awaiting his answer. Cue the music, "Also Sprach Zarathustra," for a new day's at hand! My comeback's nearly complete!

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