A hunk o' hunk o' nothing
I was 6 years old when Elvis Presley died.
It was summertime, Aug. 16, 1977, to be exact. I was across the street at my friend Kim's house. She'd gone inside to use the bathroom, and I was in her backyard, trying to learn to ride her 10-speed bike (she was a few years older than me). I wasn't really able to reach the pedals, so I was wobbling down the sidewalk, hanging on for dear life when I heard Kim scream from the open window.
Her scream, coincidentally, was perfectly timed with my falling off the 10-speed. If memory serves me, I went into a rose bush via a kiddie pool. But that didn't matter. Obviously, something terrible was happening. The house must be on fire -- or something on that level anyway. I certainly didn't think a scream like that would be over a dead rock 'n' roll singer.Even at 6, I knew who Elvis was, of course. We played his records in my house and watched his movies on TV -- and so did everybody else. Even in the age of disco, Elvis was still the King. But I didn't know how much he meant to folks until I heard that scream.
By the time I ran up the back steps to the carport, the women of the house were in mourning. There were tears and phone calls. I didn't yet know the word "pall," but I knew one was hanging over the house.
As the word spread, it got worse. The television news showed people gathered at Graceland, crying and screaming.
I didn't quite get it.
I liked Elvis. But I didn't know Elvis. And neither did these other people. Why the hysteria?
As I got older, of course, I came to understand just what an influential figure he was in American music and movies. I even dissected his importance when I took The History of Rock 'n' Roll in college. I still like his music, I have made my pilgrimage to Graceland, and I own both a shot glass and a pair of socks with Elvis' TCB-lightning bolt logo on them. (That stands for Taking Care of Business in a Flash for you non-Memphis Mafia types.) And one of the sadnesses of my life is that I cannot list Elvis among the dozens of artists I've seen in person. I just missed out.
Ah, not so fast. The same company that brought rapper Tupac Shakur "back to life" via a hologram performance has now received permission to resurrect The King.
I knew when I heard about the Tupac hologram that it was going to be the beginning of a terrible trend -- the re-creation of dead rock stars. I can just hear the suits now: "Hey, they made us a lot of money when they were alive. No reason to give up ticket revenue just because they're dead."
I'm sure the list will grow exponentially. From Hank Williams to Michael Jackson, the estate of every dead performer will be getting a call from the holo-people.
And why stop there? I'm sure John Wayne has a few more movies left in him. How about giving Marilyn Monroe a career boost? And why limit it to the modern day? Let's see Mozart conduct a symphony.
Why limit it to performers? What could Thomas Edison invent today? Einstein has unfinished work. And I'm sure holo-JFK could win a second term.
Heck, let's just go all-in, buy one of those projectors, and have Grandma join us for Thanksgiving again. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
The answer, of course, is no. You wouldn't see the subtleties of a performance or pick up the nuances of a living person. Elvis wouldn't swivel his pelvis, Einstein wouldn't think and Grandma wouldn't give you a hug -- a bunch of light waves would just pretend, which is why you can count me out on the holographic concerts.
For me, Elvis has left the building permanently.
Email Nate McCullough at email@example.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.