Chilean Miner Rescue, Elvis, & Diversity

I didn’t watch the coverage of the epic rescue of the Chilean miners last night. Well, actually I tried to watch it, but it gave  me a weird but creepy Geraldo-Al Capone’s vault vibe so I changed the channel. But I’m happy for those dudes, and I’m glad they were able to reunite with their families and side-piece-jumpoffs.

From what little coverage I did see (all ten minutes of it), I remember one of the happy commentators mention that these guys will never go hungry with all the free meals they’ll receive in Chile. And I understand, and I agree with that. Shit, after spending 70 days in a matchbox 5000 miles underground just on the north-side of hell. The least anyone could do is buy them a beer while out at the local pub, no?

I mean, not being able to at least masturbate for 70 days because of 32 other dudes in the room has to come with some form of reward. So yeah, these guys are gonna be receiving all sort of congratulatory gifts. Which is cool considering that those miners aren’t gonna be paid for their employer for their time while trapped. So yeah, I say they should at least get a lap-dance or whatever they want like the guys in the movie Armageddon.

Speaking of which, I heard that one of those miners received an invitation to Graceland here in Memphis, TN. Supposedly he’s a huge Elvis fan and as Kevin Kern spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises put it, “A trip to Graceland in Memphis could be just the escape he needs after such a long period of time underground.” This might be true, but this is ultimately nothing but PR work for Elvis and Company to promote Graceland.

Not that I don’t believe that Edison Pena would love nothing more than to visit Graceland – hell, Elvis has fans all over the world. As a matter of fact, on my very first day here in Memphis, I was greeted by none other than hoards of Secret Service and military personnel as George Bush and the President of Japan – Junichiro Koizumi –  just so happened to be in town visiting Graceland that day.

Graceland has an appeal to folks here and abroad that I cannot understand. Well, actually I do understand; Elvis was a cultural icon in his day. What I don’t understand for the life of me is a person my age or younger wanting to visit the place. I mean it’s not like there are rides or anything there, right?

But hey, judging from the crowds that descend upon Memphis once a year to celebrate the life of Elvis, I guess it can be chalked up as just yet one of those “white folks” sorta things as Elvis is the Jesus of Rock ‘n Roll America (Sorry Little Richard, you ain’t it buddy!). But that’s how I felt about the Elvis-Graceland thing up until last summer when one of my friends came to pay a visit to our fine city.

Now my good friend happens to be black, and he also reads this blog regularly. And he did ask me not to blog about this. But this is too funny to pass up, so he’ll understand. Besides, it’s not like I’m gonna mention his name or anything. We’re good friends, and he knows he can trust me to not pout him on blast.

So anywhichaway, my good friend and fellow blogger Reggie was here in town visiting with his wife this past summer. We met for dinner at one of the finest BBQ establishments in the city that is also world renowned. You’ve heard of the Neely’s BBQ, haven’t you? Surely you’ve seen their show on the Food Network, right? Well, that’s where we were, and I’d recommend you give them a try if you’re ever in town.

So anyway, just before diner he filled me in on their activities, and just how they entertained themselves that particular day. They ate at several of the hot spots here in Memphis as seen on the Food Network. Seriously, there’s a lot of good eating here in the Bluff City, which would explain us being ranked as the fattest city in America. But other than eating (which happened to be one of the prime reasons for visiting after intentionally going red meat free for thirty days), my man Reggie mentioned that they visited Graceland.

Now, I’ve been in Memphis almost 5yrs, and I’ve never been to Graceland. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never seen the place not even  in passing. Not that I’ve never been in the neighborhood, or anything. Shoot, my wife was driving one day and said, “there’s Graceland,” but I never even took the time to look. I just never cared because Elvis was never on my radar.

But my boy Reggie and his wife who he blamed for going, who is also black is a huge Elvis fan paid Elvis a visit. He hung his head in shame as he told me and asked me not to take away his “black card” as well as to not tell anyone or blog about it. But I’m sure that he’d understand that in the interest of the promotion of diversity, that it’s important to shine a light on some of the “un-black” things that we black people do.

Thanks Reggie, because of you I’m considering visiting Graceland. Maybe I’ll wait for the day that the Chilean miner comes to town to finally visit. Surely with him there I won’t be the only minority in the building. Which is actually a good thing in the interest of showing “certain people” that we’re not a monolithic group. One thing’s for sure though, the brother from Chile won’t have the Secret Service in tow.