Stuck on fond Elvis memories

Kevin Cowherd

January 15, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

I SEE where the U.S. Postal Service plans to issue a stamp honoring Elvis Presley, which is a very hip move, although not one free of controversy.

Some people objected to the idea because they were put off by The King's lifestyle, particularly in his later years when he apparently sat around Graceland swallowing fistfuls of pills and ripping through pack after pack of Twinkies.

Me, I have nothing but fond memories of Elvis, especially since one of his songs inspired me to kiss a girl for the very first time.

This was back in junior high school when I found myself at a basement party with the stunning (at least to me) Sandy Mancuso and no parental supervision.

Sandy had several character flaws -- one of which was the fact that she never seemed to shut up. But I was willing to overlook this because of the way she filled out a sweater and because she was the only girl who would talk to me, the others having decided (a bit hastily, it seemed to me) that I was a thug who would soon be banging out license plates at Attica.

Anyway, the two of us were huddled in a dark corner when the Beatles' "Love Me Do" began to play on the stereo. Suddenly this warm feeling came over me. I thought I would share this feeling with Sandy in the form of a kiss. Unfortunately, Sandy chose this exact moment to launch into a spirited discussion of who was cuter: John, Paul, George or Ringo.

I waited patiently for a few minutes, hoping she would get this out of her system. Then The King's "Heartbreak Hotel" began playing and I thought: This is it. Better make my move before she starts gushing about Elvis.

So I reached over and kissed her. Now, I say "kissed," but that may be liberalizing the definition of the word. What I did was sort of bump into her lips with my lips.

She reacted pretty much the way most women have reacted when I've kissed them, with a shocking amount of indifference.

In fact, she kept right on talking for several more minutes before eventually wandering off in search of a Coke.

The whole dreary incident prompted me to give up on girls for some time. I spent the rest of the summer working on my jump shot and vowing to never again kiss a girl, especially if she didn't have the decency to react one way or another.

Getting back to the U.S. Postal Service, there figures to be a good deal of debate in the coming months over which likeness of Elvis will appear on the stamp.

More than a dozen depictions are being considered, ranging from the young, sneering, hip-swiveling Elvis who belted out "Hound Dog" to the bloated Elvis who wallowed in his bedroom amid a sea of discarded pizza boxes and Ring-Ding wrappers, staring at the light bulb.

If I can throw my two cents into the debate, I think we should pretty much eliminate the dissolute, wild-eyed Elvis from contention, as there is no need to frighten schoolchildren or those with coronary problems who may be called upon to affix a stamp to an envelope.

I myself would vote for the lean, mean and oily Elvis who starred in the 1964 classic (depending on your point of view) "Viva Las Vegas" with the sultry Ann-Margret.

This was the memorable film where Elvis played a sports car driver who, um . . . well, I forget the plot.

All I remember is that every time you turned around, Elvis was picking up a guitar and belting out a tune. And when he wasn't singing, he was kissing Ann-Margret -- with a lot more success than I enjoyed with Sandy Mancuso. (Not that I'm bitter about the whole thing. Why, do I sound bitter?)

In any event, when the Postal Service begins asking citizens to vote on which likeness of The King they'd prefer to see on a stamp, my vote goes to the young Elvis.

One possible glitch in the proceedings: Postal rules mandate that a person be deceased at least 10 years before he or she can appear on a stamp.

This could seriously skew the balloting, as there are those members of the lunatic fringe who insist that Elvis is still alive and working in a Burger King somewhere.

If I were the manager, I'd keep my eye on those Whoppers.

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