I‘m just going to say this and get it out of the way.
Your Elvis stories won’t impress me. So save your breath.
You see, I lived in Memphis – the center of the Elvis universe.
OK, it was a long time ago. And though I found the Presley saga interesting in a pop culture sense, I can’t say that I was a fan.
But here’s the thing. When you actually live in Memphis, you bump into people who had various roles in the Elvis story. This is especially true if you work for a newspaper.
I knew the woman who helped Elvis make his first recording.
I interviewed his former manager.
I used to have lunch a table away from the doctor who wrote Presley’s problematic prescriptions.
The owner of a newsstand I frequented told about Elvis running in the front door and out the back to elude frenzied girls.
Elvis used to drive by my future in-laws’ house in a golf cart.
The CBS Evening News once sought me out to offer a cynical perspective on the singer’s post-death popularity.
And on and on.
So what did I discover upon moving to Spokane? Well, I learned that I am an insufferable Elvis-story snob.
A colleague would speak of plans to write about some Spokane Elvis impersonator, and I would have to bite my lip. I mean, who cares?
Or someone would mention a theory about lingering Presley mania, and I’d think, “What do you know about it, pal? I’ve seen it up close and personal.”
I’m only bringing this up because a week from today is the 30th anniversary of Presley’s death. And if anyone is thinking of sharing some set-in-Spokane Elvis story with me, I have just one thing to say: Don’t bother. I’d just scoff.
Of course, the same thing happened when I moved to Memphis from Tucson ages ago. On like my second night in Tennessee, an editor made a big deal about taking me to a Mexican food place. He thought I would be impressed. I was not. In the Southwest (I’d also lived in El Paso), that shiny new restaurant would not have even made the playoffs.
I discovered that suddenly I was a Mexican food snob.
So here’s a question. When people move away from the Spokane area, about what are they snobs in their new locale?
Fishing? Bing Crosby stories? Pine trees? Huckleberries and lentils? Marmots?
I don’t have any immediate plans to move again. So maybe I’ll never find out.
Just as well. My snob-subjects list is long enough.
“Today’s Slice question: What bribe always worked with your kids when they were young?