Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time, I Held the World's Greatest Job



Yep, for three weeks back in the winter of 1995, I held THE greatest job ever. Even better I received 3 college credits AND I was paid for it!

Are you ready? For three hours a day, for five days a week ,for three blessed weeks, I listened to Elvis Presley.

I know! Can you believe it? God is good.

Backtracking, I was in Tempe, Arizona from 1995-1997. My then-husband had taken a leave of absence from his job in Madison to enroll in ASU's graduate school. I tagged along, thinking I'd just "get a job."  Shortly after arrival, we decided since we were already going into debt, I would enroll at ASU to finish up my bachelor's degree in something, really anything.

I stuck a tentative toe in the collegiate waters when I enrolled in a Popular Music class. Hey, don't judge. I was short on Humanities credits, and I wanted to find out if this returning 28-year old student could handle college again. It was a condensed winter session course; ie all of a semester's work was packed into a 3-week class meeting 5 days per week for THREE hours a day.

The Popular Music course's subject changes from semester to semester, with the previous semester focusing on The Beatles. I was thrilled to find out the winter session class would study Elvis Presley and his music.

I arrived for the first day of class, looked around at the vacant faces, and decided I was the only one excited to be there during winter break. The professor led us through the syllabus, and informed us the entire class grade would be based on 100 points in the form of four multiple choice quizzes each worth 25 points. During our sojourn together we would follow Elvis from birth to death, and all of the glorious in between goodies. Yes, we spent 95% of the time listening, just listening to all of Elvis' musical genres of rock & roll, gospel, ballads. Leaving class on the first day, I picked up a flyer advertising for a note taker for this class. This company would pay $350 for a student of adequate writing talent to type up notes for each class. This company then sold a subscription to students who were "unable" to attend classes regularly, or at all. My paycheck for taking notes (notes I would have had to take anyway), paid for my tuition for the class. So yeah, I was paid to listen to Elvis. Best. Job. Ever.

Unlike the whippersnappers in my class, I loved Elvis. I'd grown listening to him on our radio, on our television.  My beloved grandma, pious, Christian woman she was...oh, she had it bad for Elvis. I recall watching concerts with her during his later years when he was fairly rotund and drug-addled, but he still had the deep hypnotic voice that could get you right there in the lady parts. (Not that I realized it, since I was 10.) In my mind's eye I can still see him with pulling hundreds of scarves from around his sweaty neck to hand them off one-by-one to his admiring, swooning legion of fans. I can see the gyrations, the pelvic thrusts, the sexy snarl. And, best yet, I can see my Grandma's satisfied, happy smile.

I still listen to Elvis. During the holidays, I listen to his Christmas and gospel songs which remain some of the best out there. My thirteen year old daughter knows the lyrics to many of his songs, and may have uttered once he was "kinda hot," but doesn't get the jumpsuits...or the sideburns...or the rhinestones.

Viva Las Elvis!

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