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      Happy Birthday, Elvis!

      January 8, 2013

      By Ben Johnson & Kelly McClure

      Happy Birthday, Elvis! "E." I don’t know what to call you. The King? Can we just settle on Elvis? Do I have to say the “King” part? Your name is cute. I’m sorry. That’s not your fault, but I might as well lay that on the line for you. You’re a dead guy now, you can take it. For the rest of your death, whenever somebody says your name they will think in the back of their head, “This is cute, I am saying a cute name right now.” Unless you go by “E” instead of “Elvis.” Aaron is almost okay.

      Anyway, Happy Birthday Elvis. I hope it’s a happy birthday for you. I’m sure it is. When your Mom turned 31 she got to celebrate on a fucking porch in the south somewhere, so I’m guessing your birthday is probably going to be pretty fucking happy. I know about how you and your Mom were on a porch because there are people in this world who you don’t even know who are able to earn a reasonable living just by taking pictures of dead people's moms on porches. And you know what else? People on the thing called the internet are writing about your most recent dead birthday. They are allowed to say whatever they want about anything in the entire world, and they are writing about your most recent dead birthday. I am on the internet. I’m a human being you will never meet. But I have thought about you, and I am sharing those thoughts with other people right now. Isn’t that crazy? You’re dead!

      You don’t even know what this means yet, but you are dead. Your Mom is dead and your Dad is dead and you are dead. You might not ever know what that means. You’ve only ever been dead. The first time you actually form a thought about the fact that you are dead, that thought might be along the lines of “oh, other people are not this” rather than “Jesus Christ I am dead.” That’s how famous you are. You’ve been dead for almost 36 years.

      Your Mom never sang songs, and was not pretty for a living, and your Dad never sang songs, and never bragged about how great he was (although he was!)  They both made very little money in their lives, and they both have been pretty dumb about investing that money, and letting your ex-ladies snatch it up. Money is what people have that allows them to do things. You had enough of it to do whatever you wanted for your whole life. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you don’t know where you are or what you’re doing. For all you know, your spirit could be at that McDonalds in Richmond, Virginia with the caboose in front that I went to a couple of times when I was a kid. I thought that was pretty cool. I bet wherever you are, you think it’s pretty cool too. And you’re probably right because your Dad is dead and your Mom is dead. You’re dead. You’re dead.

      What is your death going to be like? Are you just going to wander around Heaven bored out of your mind, shuffling between tasteful parties and occasionally experimenting with nightlife materials? Are you going to be stuck with a perpetual sourpuss, like the Google searches I just ran for a few other people who are also dead? Something gone, some vital inner fire extinguished, an awkward stage writ large like some real life episode of Girls? Will you haunt a sculptor and move to a cloud and only be photographed if you're draped in a sheet? All these possibilities lay before you. You’re Elvis Presley and you have no candles on your birthday cake. Happy Birthday.

      You were born a long time ago. Your father was born a long time ago and your mother was born a long time ago. You are dead. Your parents are dead. They are older than you, but dead. They seemed like nice people, even to people like me who have never met them. One of the biggest reasons why they’re both famous is because they seem like nice people, but mostly because of you. I don’t like to think about it. Forget I brought it up. There’s no reason to think about that now. Today you are still dead.

      You know what I do want to think about? The fact that you are dead. That is great. Death is great. It only sucks the same way every other death sucks. I like to think about how you are dead. You cry and scream about dumb stuff like “I’m dead” or “that red thing is gone.” There’s a decent chance that wherever you are right now you’re covered in your own shit. Death is like that. No matter who the dead person is, there’s a decent chance they’re covered in their own shit, and the rest of us have to just roll with it. You’re like that even though all of the other stuff about you is also true. So: congratulations, Elvis. You are dead.

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