There must be something wrong with me as a columnist. During the nearly 20 years I have been pecking out these semi-regular, quasi-literary gems, I don't recall EVER having written about ELVIS.
How can anyone write newspaper columns for all those years and never mention The King? Especially if you write during the month of August!
August, you know, is right in the middle of what used to be referred to as Dog Days... those hot, listless days in the late summer when nothing much seems to happen. For reporters, Dog Days often meant going on some sort of witch hunt to find something to write about, because nothing newsworthy was ever happening.
But not any more. In the 30 years since the departure from this world of The King of Rock and Roll (or did he?), August has become Elvis is Dead Anniversary Month, and the media have had plenty to write about and broadcast. The media saturation has been perhaps a little heavier than usual this year, since this is the Thirtieth Anniversary (that's pearls if you're buying gifts) of the Unsolved Elvis Mystery.
It has occurred to me that this is not going to stop. It seems to me that Elvis-mania is only getting stronger each August, to the point that it now seems to dominate the airwaves.
Which is why I am offering this very bold proposal, that I believe will have great support throughout America: Let's just change the name of the month from "August" to "Elvis".
August, after all, was named after Augustus Caesar, who lived about 2,000 years ago. Like Elvis, he too was a king, or emperor, or whatever they had in Rome. (I don't know because, in the ninth grade, I chose to take Intro to Typing instead of Western Civilization.)
I imagine Augustus Caesar was very big in his day. They probably painted Velvet Augustus's, and I'm sure over-weight, middle-aged women with big hair and tears streaming through their caked-on, multi-colored makeup visited Cease-land every year after he was gone.
But, that, as they say, is "ancient history". He's like nowheresville today. He's had his millennium... actually two of 'em.
Now we're in a new millennium, and who says we can't do a little touch-up work to the calendar.
I'll bet if we put it on the next Election Day Ballot -- Elvis Presley versus Augustus Caesar, Elvis would win overwhelmingly in every state (with the possible exception of Massachusetts.)
Actually, it's pretty easy to get used to it. Repeat after me: "January, February, March, April, May, June, July, Elvis, September, October..." It sounded natural, didn't it?
Now, let's try a few practical application tests. Try to say a few dates: "Elvis, the tenth... Wednesday, Elvis the eleventh... Today is Elvis twenty-first... Elvis thirtieth, two-thousand seven..." See, it flows pretty well.
Of course, it will take an act of Congress, or perhaps the individual acts of 50 state legislatures, to actually change the name of the month. But that shouldn't present too much of an obstacle. If Elvis fans throughout the land decide they want to change the name of the month, no Congressman in America would be safe from the public pressure.
So there you have it: My bold proposal for 2007.
King, wherever you are, I'm sorry I have neglected to ever write about you before. I hope this makes up for it.
Note from the publisher: Actually, I DID write about Elvis once before… This same column, in fact… ten years ago!!! But, since my “ Elvis” name-change idea didn’t catch on, I thought I’d give it another try. So I just dusted off the old column, updated it a bit and – PRESTO – our first summer re-run!!!! And, this time, it’ll be on the Internet! Maybe now it will catch on!!!!
Another note from the publisher: Happy Birthday, Mom! (Did you think I could write about Elvis and completely forget your birthday? Again?!!!)
You’re always welcome to let me know you agree, disagree, can’t make sense of, or simply don’t care about anything I’ve written here… or about any other topic that happens to be on your mind. You can email me directly at: RodShealy@aol.com.
And, if reading it once just wasn’t enough for you, read it again online – along with previous columns -- at my blog: www.doingthefirst.blogspot.com