When Michele Bachmann wished Elvis a happy birthday on, ironically, the anniversary of his death, I had two reactions. Well, actually three.
The gut reaction was “Michele, you have to stop screwing around with dead people…John Wayne, John Wayne Gacy, Elvis, Paul Revere (oh no, that last one was Sarah…)”
My next thought was that maybe she actually meant to wish him a happy birthday, as in, “Gosh, Elvis, I’m wishin’ you a happy ‘welcome to your eternal life’ anniversary…”
My final thought (after realizing that only conservatives get skewered for their malapropisms since I don’t remember anyone asking President Obama why he thought our country was like the Heinz company, as in 57 varieties) was that Elvis died while I was on vacation in 1977.
Which reminded me about how many other people passed their expiration dates while I was kicking back.
First came Elvis, who met his maker while I was strolling the boardwalk in Sea Isle.
Then came Pope Paul VI, who entered into glory as I was swimming at the Poconos in 1978.
Then came his replacement, Pope John Paul I, who moved onto a better job while I was (only seven weeks later, as I recall) hanging out with friends in the Big Apple.
Two years on, in 1981, I was living the high life in Paris when-on Thanksgiving weekend-Natalie Wood drowned.
A few months later, over Spring Break in 1982, John Belushi overdosed.
Fast forward to 1992, while I was sampling some dolce vita in Florence, when Jerome Brown was tragically killed near his home in Florida. I have to say, that was the one that made my heart hurt.
And that’s when I became paranoid. Most of the deceased left us far too soon (including a 42 year old Elvis, a 43 year old Natalie Wood, a 33 year old John Belushi and a tragically 27 year old Jerome Brown.)
It got to the point where I started wondering whose obituary I was going to read after unpacking my bags the next time around.
But life tossed me an unexpected (and not entirely welcome) solution.
While the Grim Reaper has been working overtime for the past few years, so have I.
Now, I’m not saying that my inability to take a vacation has extended the life expectancy of some otherwise doomed souls (Amy Winehouse notwithstanding.)
But humor me. 'Cause I'm at work.