Monday, August 16, 2010

That time Elvis died and ruined my birthday forever.

(I have an awesome mullet for Mullet Monday, but the picture is in Will's camera, which I can't find, and he's not answering my texts or calls. So, we'll have Mullet Tuesday instead.)

So, my grandmother was a huge Elvis fan. Not, "Oh, I like Elvis!" We're talking fanatic. She sewed a king sized quilt back in the early eighties on which she hand stitched hundreds of guitars and hand wrote on it every song he ever released, along with the date it came out. She took a ceramics class once and painted a near life-sized bust of him and proudly displayed it in her living room. There were so many pictures of Elvis in her house that I thought he was a relative until I was probably 8 or 9. I was also about that age when I finally realized that Priscilla Presley's full name was not Thatbitchpriscilla.

So, rewind to August 16th, 1977. Just three days shy of my 2nd birthday. There I am, an unsuspecting little moppet with innocent blue eyes and curly hair, and the vague idea that Elvis might be my grandfather.

And what happens? That bastard dies on the crapper. Three days before my birthday! And to make it worse, the funeral ended up being on my birthday.

I don't have any memory of that year, but I've heard that my grandmother cried for, like, six months. And while I don't remember that birthday, I certainly remember many, many subsequent birthdays. Birthdays with the shadow of Elvis' death hanging over them. Birthdays where inevitably my grandmother would sigh in sadness and say, "Yup...Elvis was buried [however many] years ago today. He died three days before your 2nd birthday." Birthdays where my birthday cake was sometimes accompanied by a black cake in honor of his death.

And even now, 33 years later, I can't think of my birthday without somehow feeling responsible for his death and ruining my grandmother's life. I have Elvis guilt.

So, the moral of this story, internets? Don't take barbiturates. They will slow your heart rate down and constipate you, and one day you'll be on the toilet trying to go and you'll vagal out, and because the 'ludes have already slowed your heart rate to a dangerously low level, your heart will stop altogether and you'll die*--on the toilet with impacted poop, let me just add--which in turn might ruin someone's birthday forever. Just say no!

*For real, this is how Elvis died. When I took physiology in college, the professor entitled the section on the function of the vagus nerve "Viva Las Vagus" and taught us its whole purpose using Elvis' death. I may have forgotten everything else I learned in that class, but I remember everything about the vagus nerve. Oh, and not to use a certain type of spermicide because he and his wife tried it and it adhered to their nether regions and burned like an S.O.B. He was a very liberal professor...

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