Posted December 30, 2009
ELVIS, SHAG CARPET, AND THE TOWER OF BABEL
So many of us are mesmerized with rock stars and teen idols. I know with
one daughter, it was the Backstreet Boys. Too young to drive, a friend
and I drove her and a carload of giggly girls to Hotlanta to see the Boys.
What a thrill when one of the crooners, can't remember which one, touched
my daughter's hand. I don't think she washed it for a couple of days.
With my generation, it was Elvis. Even as a kid, my girlfriend and I used to stand in line
to see his movies.
When visiting my grandparents in the country, we piled into my uncle's car to head for the
Drive-In. We waited in a long line of other cars as though revving at the starting line of the
Winston 500. Once through the gate, car tires ate gravel, kicking up dust while making
a Richard Petty bee-line for mid-section parking spaces. Sitting outside in front of the Chevrolet's grill,
lizard-lounging in parked lawn chairs, we cranked up the sound on the speaker as loud as it would go without
creating static. Mom had pre-popped our corn at home and dumped it in brown paper grocery bags
with the tops rolled down. No kidding. Popcorn never tasted so good. It didn't cost five bucks
a bag. Stars in the sky never looked so bright and summer was never so much fun.
Then, after Elvis passed, a must see while in Memphis was Elvis's home, Graceland. I remember standing
in line once again to take a peek at the King's digs. The terms "party pad" and "crib" might have been coined, but
those more cool than I used them first.
Though the house looked huge on the outside, I remember thinking, "Boy, these rooms sure are small."
I was really disappointed when I sojourned in the room with shag carpet on the walls. Believe me, my brief visit
in that particular area was just that - brief. Shag carpet was bad enough in the 70's when on the floor - but on the wall? What was the King of Rock 'n Roll thinking?
Then outside, the pool was tiny. But, compared to what? A pool was better than no pool at all.
What was I thinking? I suppose, because Elvis had so many cars and toys, his pool should have been
bigger to accomodate the entourage that hovered around him like a bad case of smog. The bigger the better, right?
After all, he was a king. He did have a lot of toys.
Isn't there an old adage, whoever gets to heaven with the most toys wins? Perhaps that's a bumper sticker.
I just thought Elvis would have had - je ne sais quoi - something more.
Which reminds me of a recent movie trailer promoting a movie about a group of guys transported back to the 80's. One of them was trying to hook up with a girl and asked for her cell number to get in touch with
her later. She had no clue of what he was talking about. Cell phones, I-pods, Twitter, email -
none of it meant a thing to her. When she told him how to get in touch with her - the regular old way - his reply was
"That sounds exhausting!"
No dude! Today sounds exhausting!
Perhaps my rambling point is this: When I get to heaven, I hope the lines to get in aren't long - though I hope
everybody makes it - and I don't have to carry a cell phone around in the pocket of my white robe.
I hope there are no phones ringing. Period. I doubt I'll care one way or the other if Elvis touches
my hand. And I won't be disappointed about the swimming pool - I've read it's an entire river of living water.
After my faculties have been restored when I'm escorted to my new mansion,
I know I'll be focusing nonstop on Jesus, the One and Only Rock Star."
The first thing I'll tell Him is, "Thank you Lord, for no shag on my walls!" I might even ask, "If you confused
the people's language for building the tower of Babel, couldn't you have confused the inventors of
shag carpet?" Perhaps they were already confused. Perhaps they were prevented from inventing something
even more hideous.
And just to be nice and neighborly, I might ask, "Did Elvis make it up here to new digs - and is he over shag?"