Long before varsity sports and Doc Martens came onto the scene, your social status hinged upon a single annual affair: your performance in the third grade talent show.
As someone who has never been particularly "talented" in the traditional elementary school girl sense (i.e. singing/dancing/assorted gymnastics floor routines), I had no idea how to fill my allotted 3-5 minutes of stage time. My mother, sensing my anxiety and despair, dug through a trunk in her closet and stumbled upon an old black-and-white, bell-bottomed dance outfit from her middle school days. Being the swarthy 8-year-old that I was, I had no trouble fitting perfectly into a costume designed for a much older girl, and my mother pointed out that, when the wind caught hold of my sleeve fringe, I looked very much like Elvis. (Now that I'm adult, I know she was referencing Elvis during his jumpsuit-wearing fat phase, but, luckily, my knowledge of 1970s rock 'n' roll was fairly limited at the time, so the ol' self-esteem remained intact until my middle school days.... when it was, of course, devoured by wolves in Abercrombie clothing.)
That comment sparked an idea that ultimately led to CCA's first ever talent show featuring a cross-dressing, lip-synching Elvis impersonator... and, let the record reflect, I brought the house down. There is no need to describe my performance in detail, but if you have an extra 2 min and 45 seconds on your hands, I encourage you to watch this video... but instead of Elvis Presley, picture a prepubescent drag king with a snarl on her face and three feet of hair piled on top of her head. Instead of the Ed Sullivan Show, picture Mrs. Faulkner's homeroom class. Instead of the shrill cries of throngs of frenetic young women filling your ears, imagine the shrills cries of throngs of frenetic... well, nevermind... screaming third graders sound pretty much the same. Pretend the awkward dudes in the back are the parents who aren't sure how to react to my somewhat, er, provocative performance, and you're practically there. As I drank in their applause... their adoration... their envy, one thought consumed my "Hound Dog"-addled mind: I was born for this.
...but, alas, my story continues. Like Britney, Lindsay, & the King himself, I, too, was burned by the flame of fame. For next few months, Mrs. Faulker couldn't leave the room for even a few minutes without the soft, steady chant of Elvis! Elvis! filling our tiny learning space.
Whenever the chanting began, I knew I should it ignore it - that I should stay in my seat and complete my multiplication tables - but I was helpless to resist, intoxicated by celebrity.
The people had spoken. They wanted their hero back.
Before I fully understood what was happening, I would find myself at the front of the classroom, eyes closed, lip curled, chalk board eraser in hand... and it was inevitably at this moment that Mrs. Faulkner would return, a guilty silence would settle upon the room, and I would be beckoned to the hallway to be told, yet again, "Rachel, you can't keep doing this Elvis thing whenever I leave to drop off attendance." One day, at her wits' end, she threatened to call my parents if it happened again.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the day the music died.