Elvis Has Left the Building (Really!)

Much has been said about the decline of American society.elvis

Much will continue to be said, I’m sure.

Tonight, I simply add my two cents to the discussion.

This past weekend I witnessed what may be the single,most telling sign that America has lost its moral, ethical, and philosophical compass.

No, I didn’t see a child being refused the right to pray in school.

No, I didn’t see a Christmas display in a store that opted to spell it “Xmas”. (Well, yeah, I did…but that’s not the sign I’m speaking about)

The aforementioned harbinger of our country’s demise–subtle, yet undeniable–was encountered in one of the great bastions of Americana.

That’s right….I wept for my country in The Waffle House.  And the more I think about it, there is no question that the USA is scattered, covered, smothered, and chunked–UNLESS we reverse course, and we do it NOW!

What could possibly create this level of alarm?  The jukebox.  Yep, the good ol’ fashioned jukebox that is as much a fixture in these diners as line cooks named Shorty.  As is my tradition, when my family chooses to dine (term used loosely) at the Waffle House, I put a dollar in the jukebox and play 3 songs.  When I strode to the trusty, mechanical DJ on this crisp autumn morning, I first noticed that my old friend had been replaced by a younger, sexier model.  I quietly wondered if restaurants can go through mid-life crises.  Never one to judge, I decided to proceed with my selections.  Tradition required this of me.  I hit the left & right buttons and flipped through the CD selections.  Then…the watershed moment.  My trusty third selection was no longer a choice.

My first two selections were always a matter of whimsy.  They were dictated more by chance or current mood than anything else.  However, one hard and fast rule that I live by is: No trip to Waffle House is complete until Elvis sings “American Trilogy”.  Elvis was my closing act.  Save the best for last.  Well, this was no longer an option. (I’m tearing up even as I writer this).  I flipped again…and again…and again…refusing to believe what my eyes were trying to tell me.  I saw Toni Braxton.  I saw Tim McGraw.  Three Dog Night.  Johnny Cash.  The Backstreet Boys (I wish I were kidding about this one).  Garth Brooks.  Monster Rap Hits of the 90’s.  But no Elvis.

The King had left The Awful Waffle.

Defeated, I trudged back to my seat.  The grits were tasteless, the bacon anemic. My over-easy eggs were extra weepy.  How fitting.  Perhaps most telling was the fact that I only had one cup of coffee.  Yeah, you read that right.  One. Cup. Of. Coffee.

My wife, always able to read me like a book, asked what was wrong.  I tried to relay my discovery without my voice cracking like Peter Brady.  There would be no musical selections today.  Breakfast as we know it had changed–perhaps forever.

I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but this scares me.  What kind of country are we leaving for our children?  Sure, we might find a way to plug the hole in the ozone layer.  We might find a way to reduce, reuse, and recycle so much that we actually refreeze the polar ice caps.  We might even crack the code of William Shattner’s massive public appeal.  But without Elvis on the jukebox, the Waffle House is the new site of the Heartbreak Hotel.

If we don’t act now, the ripple effect of this egregious act may be felt for generations to come.  I call on you, my fellow Americans, to stand up and demand that they return the King.

God bless you, God bless America, and Thankyouverymuch.




Childhood Illness Inspires Nostalgia

sick-kidThis morning I woke up feeling less than ideal.  I decided to go to work anyway.  As I sat at my desk, I kept waiting for the day’s activities to take over and make me forget how horrible I felt.  Didn’t happen.

Sitting in front of the computer, I thought back to the “good ol’ days”—when I was in elementary school.  Back then, if you were sick, you missed school.  Simple as that.

There was no consideration of lost wages or wasted PTO.  No thoughts of leaving co-workers with an increased workload.

Sure, there was homework to make up, but come on…how hard was that?

You got sick.  You missed school.  You got better.  You went back.  It was that easy.

The simplicity of those elementary years got me thinking of what I remembered most about staying home when I was sick.  Here are a few pieces of nostalgia that stuck with me through the years:


    • I remember shuffling around the house (always with spectacular bed-head) and watching the clock until it showed 8:05am.  At that point, all my friends were sitting at their desks, and I was still in my PJ’s.  Not the worst thing ever.
    • The PJ’s.  (Hand-me-downs—even though I was the oldest child.  Go figure.) I got to wear them all day.   Somehow they helped you heal faster than regular clothes would have.
    • Lying on the sofa…with the blue afghan…dozing during The Price Is Right, but always waking up just in time for the Showcase Showdown.  Bob Barker was the man.
    • Chicken noodle soup & saltines for lunch: Synergistic homeopathic effect when used in conjunction with the aforementioned PJ’s.
    • Finally giving in to sleep during the afternoon, and then waking to the sound of Phil Donahue on the TV saying, “Go ahead….Caller.”
    • My brother coming home from school signified that the lousy part of being sick had now set in.  I was still sick, and school was out for the day.  The novelty officially wore off at 2:55pm.

As an adult, being sick is nowhere near as memorable.  Life goes on whether you’re sick or not…it doesn’t have the courtesy to slow down for illness.  Stupid grown-up responsibilities!!!

What about you?  Any memorable sick days when you were a kid?