A Visit with
by Chris Minnick
Return to Articles
Elvis is 60. According to the official record, The King died seventeen
years and five months ago. Of course, many believe that he is
still alive, and that he faked his death. In the spirit of modern
trash journalism, my sister and I decided to make a pilgrimage
to Graceland over the holidays and find out for ourselves. The
trip began on December 26th, and what follows is my journal of
1:02 P.M. Tuesday, December 27
Yesterday we drove until midnight and stayed in Nashville. We
ate at two Wafflehouses, one in southern Ohio, and one just north
of Nashville. Waffle House is a wonderful thing. I had never been
to one of these before yesterday. Apparently it's a southern thing.
On the menu, they advertise that they know something like 188,000
different ways to serve waffles. Sometime this week, I'll have
to ask one of the waitresses to list them.
At the gas station in Kentucky, a woman asked where were headed
and I told her "south". I decided it would be best to be secretive
about our mission. We stayed at the Econolodge, next to the Wafflehouse.
Two very frightening southern boys were working the night shift.
One was very friendly, the other, with his hair greased back and
a psychopathic look on his face, just kept lighting the grease
on the grill and laughing a horrible laugh. After dinner, we went
back to the motel, drank Miller, ate pickle potato chips and watched
"The Girl Can't Help it". Everyone here says "Ya'll".
Today, we are driving to Memphis. We are on I - 40, about sixty
miles away now. We've seen a couple billboards for Graceland and
I'm starting to get a strange feeling. I've been thinking about
Elvis and listening to a tape of him. I'm feeling an intense reverence
for the man. I find myself studying every picture of him, looking
for clues. I wonder if he could really be alive. I'd like to ask
him what makes people feel this way when they get near Graceland.
2:00 A.M. Wednesday, December 28
We arrived in Memphis at 2:30, and checked into the Admiral Benbow
Inn on Union St. The first room they gave us hadn't been cleaned.
There were condom wrappers on the floor with Budweiser bottles,
stains on both beds, and the place smelled like urine. We got
a new room, with landscape paintings of nothing on the wall, the
toilet makes horrible noises (Whooomp! Growl...Bang!) It smells
like a retirement home. We've seen only two roaches so far.
We walked down Union shortly after checking in to the Admiral
Bimbo. I imagined Elvis walking on the same sidewalk as we approached
Sun Studio. Our tour was guided by a Polish man who had been in
the country for a year and a half. He knew the script well, and
we got to hear tapes of ten second clips of the most famous people
who recorded there. The last song was U2. That was upsetting.
After Sun Studio, we walked down to this hotel (The Peabody) where
they have ducks who swim in the fountain, then we went to Beale
street, and ate at B.B. Kings Blues Cafe. After dinner we walked
around aimlessly for four hours. We couldn't get to the damn Mississippi
because of all the walls and fences. I think the government built
those walls to keep us from seeing something that would verify
that Elvis is still alive. We took a cab back to the motel, and
12:30 A.M. Thursday, December 29
Only nine more days till Elvis' birthday. It's unfortunate that
I won't be here for it. I'm sure that he will come out of hiding.
I know where he is now. Today we drove down Elvis Presley Blvd.
to Graceland, spent a ton of money on tickets for the mansion
tour and the car museum. After a two hour wait, we finally boarded
the shuttle bus that took us across the street from the parking
lot and the souvenir shops to Graceland. It was extremely evident
that Elvis still lives there. No one is allowed to see the second
floor, where Elvis' bedroom and office are. This is obviously
because he still lives there. Graceland is much smaller than I
had expected. I kinda felt sorry for Elvis, with all those people
walking through his house all day. I suppose he probably just
sleeps through it, and comes out at night to watch his three TVs
and play billiards. The strange thing that I noticed is that there
doesn't seem to be a bathroom or a kitchen in Graceland. The bathroom
must be upstairs, but the apparent lack of a kitchen makes me
believe that there must be a pizza delivery boy in Memphis who
has seen Elvis, and maybe even sees him every day.
When we got to the garden in which Elvis is buried along with
his parents and some other relatives, I found it really difficult
to look sad or even reverent. First of all, there were just too
many people standing around looking meditative, and secondly,
Elvis' middle name is spelled wrong on his tombstone. I know that
this is common knowledge, but this misspelling really puzzled
me. If I were carving Elvis' tombstone, I would be very careful
not to make a mistake. I'd think that it would be very hard to
make a mistake when carving anyone's tombstone, it's not like
typing. Anyway, the guy who carved the tombstone must have had
orders to make this mistake in order to tell the people who care
that Elvis will be back. After the tour, we marveled at the amount
of really expensive, and really stupid Graceland souvenirs. Why
the hell would anyone need a thimble with Elvis' picture on it?
I don't even know anyone who owns a normal thimble. After Graceland
we went to a casino in Mississippi and I won $100 dollars on a
slot machine - a sign from the gods. We blew it all an hour later
on dozens of oysters and beers back in Memphis.
11:00 P.M. Thursday, December 29
We started driving back today, and stopped in Nashville. Earlier
in the trip, I wanted to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame
to see Elvis' gold Cadillac, but tickets are $15, and I already
feel like I've been ripped off way too many times in the last
few days. Nashville makes me nervous. We went to a greasy country
bar near our Hotel for dinner tonight, Gabe's Lounge. The one
thing I've noticed about people here, is that these country music
people are much more friendly to strangers and weirdos than most
people in the north, especially northern country folk.
Tomorrow, we're going to drive all day, probably eat at another
Wafflehouse. I'm getting tired of Wafflehouse and I'm getting
tired of thinking about Elvis. I know now that he is definitely
still alive, but I really don't care. He's a sixty year old fat
man, who is probably bald, drunk off his ass, and losing his teeth
while wearing gaudy jumpsuits.