If we were having coffee today I’d be wondering about the little ironies of life. If you’re like me you’re seeing reminisces about the forty-second anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Forty-two years. What’s the irony? Elvis was forty-two when he died!
Note: if you are a die-hard Elvis fan you best move on to the next paragraph. I was never one of his biggest fans during his life. I appreciated his place in the history of American music, to be sure, and I even liked most of his movies. But in his later years, he had become almost a caricature of himself. It was no illusion, and later accounts of his life support that notion. At the time, most people I knew pretty much considered him as almost a joke and we were not far off the mark. He was sheltered, pampered, catered to, all while he was pretty much sewing the seeds of his own destruction. He still managed to put on a hell of a show though, but let’s face it, the information age would have totally destroyed him.
Actually, I’m gratified that his image was rehabilitated … it survives now, after 42 more years. If he had lingered around with the same excesses and abuses for another ten or fifteen years, I doubt his image would have survived as long as it has. Hopefully, he would have rehabbed but it doesn’t sound like his cadre of enablers was ever going to let that happen. I won’t say that death was a good career move for him, but, well … forty-two years later Elvis is certainly not a joke.
Life is full of these little markers. On my forty-second birthday, I happened to go to the grocery store and noticed one of those little “buy alcohol” signs with the year of birth on it. I realized that day that it had been twenty-one years since I turned twenty-one! I think that was the first time the concept of old-age seemed to dawn on me as a creeping glacier of inevitability.
What sort of life-markers do you like to note?
So, kudos to you, Elvis. You did all right, buddy.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in NC. The release date of his latest novel, Lucky Strike is inevitably creeping closer … look for it sometime next month!
More info on this novel and my others at http://thefensk.com