By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
My son got a birthday card that was nearly four months late. I loved it because it gives me cover. The next time a member of that family has a birthday, I’ll have at least three and a half months of leeway. In my world, that’s reason to celebrate.
But I’m not here to talk about my world, as strange and exotic as it is.
Friends, today’s topic of conversation is Elvis World, that collection of fans caught in the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s gravitational pull.
My 8-year-old son, Evan, isn’t a full-fledged citizen of Elvis World, but it’s probably just a matter of time. That belated birthday card included an iTunes card, and Evan knew exactly what he wanted.
“Dad, can you download me some rockin’ Elvis music?” he said.
He only wanted “rockin” music. He was particular about that.
“How about ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ son? It’s a classic,” I said.
“Too much whining,” he said.
“Jailhouse Rock” works for him. He also digs “Don’t be Cruel,” “Hound Dog” and “Too Much,” and I convinced him to give “Blue Suede Shoes” a listen.
“He must like those shoes,” Evan said.
“Yeah, well, somebody else wrote the song,” I said.
“But it sounds like Elvis really likes those shoes,” he said.
Who could argue?
I’m not a member of Elvis World. I work on the periphery with my pen and notebook when fans come to Tupelo.
Don’t get me wrong: My version of “Love Me Tender” would make you cry if you were ever in the shower when I sang it. (It’d be best for all concerned if you tried to get that mental picture out of your head as soon as possible.)
Every December, I pop in the Elvis Christmas CD from Jay Bell, my good friend from “Bradenton-Fun-in-the-Sun-Baby-Florida,” but I’m more of an Elvis appreciator than an outright fan.
I can admit that because I’ve spent so much time in my Mighty Daily Journal career dealing with true fans. For the most part, they are pleasant and accepting people who smile a lot.
When I pull out my notebook and pen, they’re happy to tell me what Elvis still does for them. His music pulls them through their dark times, while also giving them common cause with like-minded people all over the globe.
If you’re an outsider, you might be tempted to make fun of dyed-black pompadours, white jumpsuits and Elvis face tattoos on fans’ legs, arms and shoulders.
But if you judge its citizens by how they act, not just by how they look, you’ll soon realize Elvis World is a beautiful place.
I’ve spent nearly 17 years covering this phenomenon. I don’t know Elvis, but I know many of his people. If my son someday joins them as a citizen in good standing, I’m sure he’ll be among friends.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.