The anniversary of Elvis’s death is a week off but my former neighbor Crazy Lyle has insisted for years Elvis isn’t really dead. But then, who is buried in his grave?
When burdened with such astronomical agonizing questions as above, I consult my friend Max, the moderately brilliant, albeit modest, proprietor of the The Very Scientific Study Company.
I hit him with these questions and as I expected, Max was again modest, admitting he wasn’t familiar with the urban legend of Elvis faking his own death and that he was living as a recluse in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I briefed Max on the theories as to why the King abdicated his throne for the peaceful life of a recluse:
The Pure Exhaustion Theory — This is a plausible theory. How many swooning nubile-bodied-beauties can one forty-year-old, out-of-shape sex symbol take? Even if each cutie carried a replenishing supply of Snicker bars, a star named “the Pelvis” would have world class performance anxiety. Best to fake a death and hang it up.
The Japanese Catching Up Theory — Although Elvis was propping up the American television industry by making TV tubes eat lead, the word was out about Japanese producing a bulletproof TV screen. Rather than someday having to draw against a Sony with built-in deflectors and suffer the indignation of being beat by an unarmed opponent, it might be best to fake a death and hang it up.
My Entourage is Out of Control Theory — Each member of Elvis’ immediate entourage had his own subordinate entourage. With each immediate member having his own Elvis-sponsored Cadillac, the members of the subordinate entourages wanted their own Cadillacs. When Elvis heard each member of the subordinate entourages were starting their own entourages (sort of a reverse Mary Kay Cadillac pyramid) he quickly realized General Motors couldn’t produce enough Cadillacs. Better to fake a death and hang it up.
There are Some Other Things I Want to Do Theory — It was rumored Elvis didn’t relish being fat, wanted to join an aerobics class, drop the pills, do Yoga, eat bean sprouts. But, Elvis had a reputation to uphold, couldn’t do the things he really wanted to do. Best to fake a death and hang it up.
As Max pondered these theories, I put to him the zinger boggling everyone’s mind: If Elvis were to fake his own death, why fabricate a story he died on the toilet, suffering such an ignoble death?
“Ah,” Max answers, in his moderate but modest manner, “Elvis is smarter than you give him credit. If he died at sea, or as a burned body in a car wreck people would have been immediately suspicious. But with such an un-kingly demise, no one would think it wasn’t true.”
Okay, that’s plausible, but who is buried in the Graceland grave?
“Ah, ” Max answers, still modest but warming, “You have not heard of Elvis impersonators? Surely, one of these boys would volunteer for the ultimate honor, to spend eternity on the Graceland grounds. Yes?”
Okay, Max was cooking but still modest. Now Max, where is Elvis getting the money to be comfortable as a recluse?
“Ah,” Max answers, a little less modest, “Why is it Elvis left so little in his will? Was not this Presley the all-time top recording star, also a movie star? Is he not only one person? Is it not true those Beatle Boys each accumulated over ten times as much wealth as Elvis left, and their careers one-third the length of Elvis’ and there were of them to one Elvis?”
Max was going too fast. Let’s see – Paul McCartney worth $ 500 million and had to pay those high British taxes. He’s one of four; Beatles career one-third as long. Elvis made ten movies, Beatles made that Hard Day’s Submarine and maybe one more. So, then Colonel Parker was putting some money aside for Kalamazoo.
“Ah,” Max smiled, “you’re catching on.”
Okay, why Kalamazoo?
“Why not?” Max asks, “Is there a Cadillac factory nearby? Maybe an entourage member sends supplies to Elvis in Cadillacs. So many Cadillacs around no one notices when a few more pass through town.”
My mind feels so at rest when Max frees me of these burning questions.