Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's Not The Years, It's The Mileage


I once was in Branson, Missouri where I saw an older man who looked like Hank Williams serving popcorn at an Elvis impersonators show. He'd sing as he served, a few verses of "Jambalaya" or "Your Cheatin' Heart." Turns out, he played Hank in the morning revue which wasn't all that popular. Turns out that not so many people wanted to see a fake Hank as much as they wanted to see a fake Elvis. Their are whole cottage industries devoted to impersonating the King which makes sense -- Elvis performed with lots of bells and whistles which are easy to imitate. Of course, it's all an attempt to get at the soul, which makes for a much tougher time. The fake Hank had to be sixty which left me thinking that the real Hank died at age 29, looking as beat to hell as anything. As my friend Hank used to say, It's not the years, it's the mileage and everyone I have ever known named Hank has had plenty of mileage.

We become the things we love, even if we aren't stuck in some hellish reprisal of them for the rest of our days. I once heard an Elvis impersonator say, The best thing in life is to be someone else. Elvis didn't have problems, not like me. I'm guessing Elvis would have been shocked as hell to find out that he didn't have any difficulties, that it was all smooth sailing in the Jungle Room. I think of the icons I love the most and they seem like nothing but a beautiful mess to me, impossible to capture in their full glory and misery. Like Hank Williams. The name means gracious and sometimes it's listed as meaning ruler. But as Hank W. himself would say, it also means being drunk out of your mind, heartsick, broken, close to death. You can hear it in his voice. Even when he sings about seeing the light, it's a painful horrible light and you feel as if it might go out at any minute.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A man does not look behind the door unless he has stood there himself." Henri du Bois

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Fargo

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

12 comments:

Tony Soprano said...

I know what you mean about the light, Michelle. I saw the white light of the void in my last episode, with the assistance of peyote. There was a lot of light in that episode. Even my girlfriend's name was Sonya. Thanks for all your support of the Sopranos!--Tony

lerxtd said...

Fifteen more days until the last day of the Sopranos!

TV Guide said...

What a name!

Henry Ford the Second said...

Never complain, never explain.

the walking man said...

Change my name to Hank, then.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm amazed Hank Williams Jr. has lasted as long as he has, considering the mileage he's put on. Me, I plan to role my odometer back.

Tony Blundetto said...

Steve Buscemi was great in "Fargo." I wish my cousin Tony Soprano hadn't shotgunned me to death. But I guess it's a lot better than what Phil Leotardo would've done to me for killing his brother. I wish I could be in the last episodes of the Sopranos, Michelle, but, as they say, that's life in the berry patch. Thanks for all your support of the show!

Melvis Presley said...

Y'know, ma'am, this is one of my favorites you've ever wrote. TCB with a huge flash. God bless all the great Hanks.

I ain't "impersonating" anyone, you know. I am a hunka hunka burnin' love. I dance in the jailhouse, rock, rap, R&B, you sing and I shake my pelvis like your little world on a string, baby. I'm a god dang hound dog, and I ain't ever been nothin' but. I ain't ever caught no rabbit and I don't need friends to call mine.

I got red quaaludes and these fancy new Oxycontins and Vics. That's the only friends I need.
Somebody call the Colonel for me, this is a red letter day for young women in white cotton underwear.

'Till my moneys all gone
on the telephone
singin hey-e-ya mama can your daddy come home?

God rest all the great Hanks.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

For whatever reason your post reminds me of "Stumbling on Happiness," which my eyes are stumbling upon. He points out how we compare with other people, falsely thinking we know what makes them happy or miserable. Plus, I'm a-wondrin' what the heck happened to JR's Thumbprints.

Susan Miller said...

This fits with what I'm doing today. Thanks for the post.

Jon said...

I'm waiting for a really good "tribute" to Janice and Jimi. But it'll never happen...too much unique talent, not enough bells and whistles. I think I'll go play "Ball and Chain."

JR's Thumbprints said...

For some reason, after reading your post, I remembered a story titled "Black Elvis" from I believe the Missouri Review. The name of the author escapes me, but the story was hilarious. Poor Black Elvis is no competition for some new Japanese Elvis Impersonator.

Pawlie Kokonut, aka The Laughorist, I'm still around and still writing (only in a different capacity).