Thursday, August 09, 2007

Elvis Aaron Presley

When I walk my little black doggie out in the desert sometimes I sing to him. I used to sing “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound dog.” But now that he has caught and killed a little cottontail bunny rabbit, I don’t sing that song to him anymore.

Elvis Aaron Presley died 30 years ago. On August 16, 1977. There isn’t much I can add to all the others who will eulogize him, but I do have a little story. Elvis was born on January 8. I was born one day earlier, on January 7. Elvis was a Capricorn, just like the carpenter from Nazareth. Me too.

Elvis had the voice, he had the moves, and he had an enormous amount of charisma.

Back in the bad old days pretty much everyone served in the military if you were called upon to do so. Not just poor folks like it is today. And when his time came, Elvis did indeed serve in the U.S. Army. He didn’t like it, but he didn’t run away and hide either. He certainly had enough money that he could have found a way to get out of serving his country, but he was from that generation which believed that your word was as good as gold, and that it was important to serve one’s country when called upon to do so.

Elvis was stationed with the 3d Armored Division in West Germany. Of course now days there is no longer an East Germany and a West Germany, but there sure was back then. And everyone took it all very seriously. People died trying to get out of East Germany and into West Germany.

Bad analogy, but people are dying of thirst in the desert right now trying to get from Old Mexico into New Mexico.

After I graduated from university the war in Vietnam was still going on, and I also served with the U.S. Army’s 3d Armored Division in Frankfurt, West Germany. Elvis was older than me, so by the time I was with the Army in West Germany it was about 10 years since Elvis had been there. But there were still people who remembered him, and they still told stories about him.

Both Elvis and I had cushy jobs while we were in the Army. Even though we both got over to Germany as lowly Privates, we both worked for Colonels, and we both had been promoted up to Spec 5 when we got out. Elvis was a driver for his Colonel; and I since I had an honors degree from a University and I could type, even though my formal training in the Army was as a tank driver (the ultimate off road vehicle) I was immediately reclassified as a clerk typist. So I was basically the secretary/receptionist to my Colonel.

Supposedly one time Elvis' Colonel thought that Elvis had not washed the jeep well enough, so the next day Elvis took it into town and had it repainted. I don’t know if this really happened, but the old guy who told me the story presented it as the truth.

Yesterday waiting in the check out line I saw Angelina Jolie’s picture on a tabloid magazine. Skin and bones. Apparently she also is going into a program for substance abuse.

One thing that can be learned from Elvis and his short life. Substance abuse kills rich and famous people just as easily as it kills poor people.