Throughout my childhood I hoped and prayed that somehow Elvis was my real dad. Eventually, after I realized my dream was a mathematical impossibility, I decided I wanted to simply be Elvis. Sometime in my mid 20s I bought a 1960 Cadillac, started an absurd and unnecessary gun collection, and jumped headfirst into an unhealthy pill addiction. Like Elvis I quickly ballooned, from 140 to 215 pounds, limiting myself to two or three bowel movements a month. I was well on my way to dying on the throne, just like Elvis did, trying to push a watermelon out a grape-sized hole.
Luckily my wife came along and cleaned me up. Made an honest man out of me. We tied the knot on July 1, 2006 in an Elvis-themed wedding complete with four-foot tall Elvis bust ice sculptures and an exact replica of the cake Elvis and Priscilla ate on their wedding day. Next year for our ten-year anniversary we're planning on renewing our vows in Vegas and getting 450-pound Big Elvis to remarry us.
Last weekend Vans flew Patrick O'Dell and myself, along with all their bloggers, to Palm Springs for the weekend for a social media summit. I brought my wife along so we could begin planning our Vegas wedding. After hearing about our plans, O'Dell, a Palm Springs regular, told us, "You know, the house Elvis rented for his honeymoon is right down the road. They give tours. Maybe they'll rent it to you for your second honeymoon."
Within the first four minutes of the tour we learned that they'd do us one better! Elvis's honeymoon house is on the market for the low, low price of $8.5 million (recently reduced from $9.5 million). I'm going to be living in the same space that my imaginary father rented! I spent the majority of the two-hour tour of the magnificently futuristic (every room in the house is round) four-bedroom, five-bath, 5,000–square foot home scoping out closet space to figure out where I was going to store all my crap when we move in.
There's a scene at the end of Richard Pryor's Brewster's Millions where Pryor steps into a room built specially for him and says, "This is the room I want to die in." I felt the exact same way the moment I walked through the front doors of my new home. Instantly all my senses were attacked. The smell of Brut and Hai Karate permeated the entire house, the sweet, sweet sounds of Love Me Tender pumped into each room and everywhere I looked was a treasure trove of Elvis photographs and memorabilia. Standing in the foyer surrounded by all that splendor was the beautiful Darlene Perez, a world champion Priscilla Presley lookalike. My heart skipped a beat. Without realizing it, I unhooked my hand from my wife's and took a large step away from her and toward Darlene. I was smitten. The words I was typing out in my head accidentally fell out of my mouth. "Hubba, hubba," I said, and Darlene blushed.
Darlene told us the brief history of the year Elvis spent in the house and how Lisa Marie was conceived in the bed just up the stairs and born nine months later to the day. As we looked upon the bed I dreamt of a life with both my wife and Darlene. A life where I wore my Elvis eagle jumpsuit, Darlene dressed in Priscilla's garb, and my wife wore Marilyn Monroe outfits (whose house next door could be clearly seen from my new backyard) as we lived out the rest of our days in character, like Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, in some sort of time-traveling sex triangle.
What makes tours of the Honeymoon House better than Graceland is that Darlene actually allowed us to take photos on the bed where Lisa Maria was conceived. "I bet Elvis was on top," I told my wife. "That's how you make girls."
The room just to the left of the entrance has a couch that runs the entire perimeter of the room where Elvis and Priscilla greeted their guests after returning from their Vegas wedding. I studied the home movies from that day as they looped in televisions around the room so I could remember all the details and have the caterers recreate them for when I welcomed guests after our Vegas wedding.
Darlene walked about pointing out important details of how the house played a key part in Elvis's life. She pointed to a large portrait of Elvis and Priscilla hanging above the couch and said, "See Elvis's tan in that photo? He got that tan at this house. And see that rock in the picture? It's this rock right here (pointing to the wall), nothing has ever changed in this room." I was starting to worry that the homeowners might realize $8.5 million is far less than what such an important piece of musical history is actually worth. I can barely afford the mortgage on my tiny, suburban New Jersey home, but suddenly I was seeing the investment possibilities of the Honeymoon House.
In the kitchen, Darlene stopped in front of the industrial-sized refrigerator and turned to us to whisper a secret. We gathered close and she said, "I don't usually do this on the tours, but I'm going to show you where Elvis's wedding cake was stored." She pulled back the heavy doors to reveal the place where "Elvis's hands surely touched when reaching for some of that leftover cake," and we all swooned. You could almost taste the kirschwasser.
Connected to my kitchen is Elvis's rumpus room. The room is furnished with a jukebox, a mannequin wearing a leather motorcycle suit, and a replica of the exact same ceramic white monkey that can be seen in Graceland. "Anyone know the difference between this monkey and the one in Graceland?" Darlene asked. We racked our brains, guessing out loud, that perhaps this one didn't house a hidden gun or something of that nature. "Nope," she said. "The difference is you can touch ours." And touch it we did. The entire group rushed to rub their hands all over Elvis's pretend pet.
Perhaps the most shocking and awe-inspiring of anything in the house—even more so than the six-foot-deep standing bathtub (Elvis only took standing baths)—were the drinking straws on display in a trophy case of various Elvis belongings. Darlene explained that she and her sister had found those straws under five-inches of dirt in the backyard. The straws had been confirmed by men who worked security during the honeymoon party to be, in fact, the very same straws that Elvis drank from that day. I looked at my wife as if we'd just hit the lottery. I silently mouthed to her, "What if one of the straws has Elvis's DNA and we can sell those to a scientist who can use the DNA to grow a new Elvis on the back of a mouse??? We'll be rich! RICH. I SAY! RICH!!!"
Unfortunately my wife is a poor lip reader and had no idea what I was saying.
If you're an Elvis fan or even just into Hai Karate, I urge you to make a pilgrimage to Palm Springs ASAP, because I'm currently in the process of starting one of those begging accounts on GoFundMe or Kickstarter to help raise the money needed to pay for my new home and I can assure you that when I get a hold of it the tours are going to stop.