Beefcake Episode #1
Elvis. That’s all that I really have to say. I haven’t been able to conjure up any more words past that. Just Elvis. I don’t know any more than that. I feel compelled to say something, but where do you start? He is Elvis, for goshsake.
It’s Elvis week in Memphis, TN. and with that comes the Elvis Presley Memorial 5k. Amanda, my dad, and myself hopped on down to Graceland to participate in the race and see the fanfare. Truthfully, I like Elvis music, but I am not just crazy about it. I mean, who doesn’t like Elvis music, at least to some degree? I respect Elvis for what he contributed as much as any American, but I discovered this Saturday that there was much more to Elvis, than Elvis.
My dad spends the majority of Elvis week at Graceland every year. He loves to listen to the people, watch the impersonators, and mingle with the fans from all over the world. We all think he is crazy (and he is), but he just loves it. The whole Elvis Week thing has not really made much sense to me throughout my life, but on Saturday, while sitting in front of the gates of Graceland, I felt moved. It was then that I felt the magnitude of what Elvis had done in his life, and how he affected people all over the globe. I mean this guy, this guy pulled off some real stuff. Elvis was the total package. He had it all. He had the voice, the moves, the range, the style, the looks, the charisma, but most importantly, he had confidence. The confidence is what I love about the King….the confidence. Damn, I admire his confidence.
Have you ever stopped to think about the risks associated with becoming The King of Rock and Roll? Have you ever thought about what goes into being a pioneer in anything, much less everything, the way that Elvis did? Have you ever thought about the degree of self-doubt that had to be overcome to become “The King”? I had not thought about these things, not before Saturday, I had not. Now, all of a sudden, I can’t think about anything else!
I wonder what it looked like for Elvis to hear that his music was too edgy, too hard, too loud. I wonder what it sounded for him to hear that he simply could not dance in the fashion that he danced. I cannot help but think of what the room felt like when Elvis said,
“I’m gonna wear this jumpsuit…with rhinestones (tons of them)…and boots. I’m gonna wear boots… with heels. I’m also gonna sport these crazy looking glasses, because I want to. And one more thing, I’m gonna wear a cape. Yeah, that’s right. I said, I’m gonna wear a cape with my rhinestone jumpsuit. When I’m not in rhinestones, I’m gonna wear tassels; long, flowing tassels. Also, I’m gonna do karate when I go on stage.”
The man wore a fu*king cape. How awesome is that? Elvis was so cool that he had his own wave. He literally had his own way of acknowledging folks. As if the pointing of the index finger were not enough, he decided to stick up his thumb as well. But wait, the finger and the thumb needed more, so he added the pinky finger. This way he could incorporate the sign for “I love you”, and to boot, he threw in a tremor of the hand…cause he is Elvis. This is mesmerizing to me. I know that I should probably be more captivated by Elvis because of his music, but I’m not. I admire his confidence. I love his confidence. His confidence is what inspires me.
Keep in mind, there was no real precedence set for the King. There was no Madonna, Prince, or Lady Gaga to fall back on, as someone who had tested the market. Every time he stepped out on the stage in Elvis fashion he risked hearing crickets. He risked crossing a line that his fans were not willing to walk with him, and making himself look like a fool…but he approached this line confidently. The King carried himself with so much confidence that he could get away with kicking karate at 165 pounds, or kicking back at 300lbs. I want that kind of confidence. I’m no historian, so I could be way off, but I don’t hear many folks refer to him as cocky or arrogant. He was even said to be shy as a youngster. I believe he was just confident. I want to know what that kind of confidence feels like.
Do I need to sell a billion records to be confident?
Do I need to achieve global fame and notoriety?
Do I need to have incredible looks and killer dance moves?
I’m not real sure, but I think that the only thing I need to be confident is confidence. I’m confident of it.