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Bert Montgomery: Elvis’ birthday, No.8 and 42


Bert Montgomery



Number 8. 


January 8, to be exact. 


It''s Elvis'' birthday. 


Number 8. 


Archie Manning wore the number 8 on his jersey. He is everyone''s 


all-time favorite Saint. 


Speaking of the New Orleans Saints, at 13-3, they are undeniably one 


of the best teams in the NFL (so what if they lost these last three 


games?!) and are going into the playoffs. I''m pulling for them to make 


it into the Super Bowl. 


But Archie''s not leading the Saints anymore. It''s Drew Brees. 


I''ve got a Saints'' fleur-de-lis sticker on my car that says "Brees''N thru the Season!" and has the number 9 with a halo around it - Mr. Brees wears the number 9. 


Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. 


The Number 9 is not the number 8, and it brings to mind John Lennon and the Beatles, which is not the topic of this essay. It''s Elvis. But then again, Lennon and the Beatles loved Elvis . . . 


Birthday Elvis #8. 


And, number 42.  


42 is, as everyone knows, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. But, the late Douglas Adams reminds us, while everyone knows the answer is 42, nobody knows what the ultimate question is . . . 


Nevertheless, 42. 


Elvis was 42 when he died - assuming you''re one of those people who believe he''s dead. My second-favorite Elvis-is-or-is-not-dead theory is purported by the Tommy Lee Jones character in Men In Black: "Elvis didn''t die, he just went home." Like you, I''ve been tempted to believe that at times. 


The more plausible explanation, and my personal favorite Elvis-is-or-is-not-dead theory, is presented in one of the greatest movies of the last decade, Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis didn''t die - he just switched places with an impersonator, and the impersonator died. 


Elvis, instead, lives in a nursing home in the middle-of-nowhere Texas and is friends with John F. Kennedy (whose skin was dyed black by the conspirators - which included LBJ - after he survived the assassination attempt, and he was left at the nursing home to be forever known as a crazy-old-black-man-who-thinks-he''s-JFK). Together, Elvis and Jack fight an ancient Egyptian mummy that is wreaking havoc at the nursing home. 


So, back to 42. 


Elvis was 42 when the impersonator died and the whole world thought he died (or whatever you explanation you prefer). 


I turn 42 in March. I feel like I''m really just beginning to live. 


Kind of like Elvis getting his groove back in the nursing home and kicking a mummy''s behind. At 42 (or, on the edge of 42 - but that conjures up Stevie Nicks memories which are best saved for another story), I feel like I''m finding my finally finding my groove in this life. I sense that I am not alone, which may be why some consider 42 to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. 


Heck, at 42 (or, the edge of 42), I''m witnessing the Saints have home field advantage in the playoffs for the first time ever, and possible even hosting the NFC Championship. 


Which goes back to number 9. 


Number 9. 


Drew Brees. 


And before Drew, there was Archie. 


Number 8. 


January 8. 


Elvis'' birthday. 


Even before his "retirement" (however you wish to define "retirement"), Elvis has always been a defining point of reference for my life. I guess he''ll always be - especially if I''m fighting off mummies as an old man in a nursing home. 


Happy birthday, Elvis - wherever you are. 


Editor''s note: Tonight the Columbus Arts Council is hosting a birthday celebration for the King of Rock and Roll with a birthday celebration and an Elvis open mic night. Tickets are $8 advance and $10 at the door at the Omnova Theater in the Rosenzweig Arts Center.


Bert Montgomery is an author, MSU religion/sociology instructor, and pastor and lives in Starkville. His e-mail address is [email protected]


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