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ELVISISM, THE SOPRANOS, AND ME

ELVISISM, THE SOPRANOS, AND ME

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It’s hit me, finally. I know most Memphians will know exactly what I mean, too. I’ve fallen subject to Elvisism. Ah, yes. The innocent chit-chatters have afflicted me with a dash of regional discrimination. Any of you who have grown up in “the land of the King,” have, I’m sure, felt it too. Somehow a cultural hero becomes the postcard for an entire population. “You grew up in Memphis? Ah . . . Elvis!” Are you with me? Think of it in terms of percentages. How many people have you met randomly and shared the obligatory “so, where are you from” exchange only to be subject to a 15-minute Elvis-loving rampage? You walk away knowing where they were when he died, how fabulous their Elvis costume party was back in 1983, and with a desperate hope that you can find a way to avoid eliciting this sort of information from people that you haven’t known for more than three minutes. Maybe this is speculative on my part, or exaggerated, since I haven’t really lived in Memphis all that long. But I think, just recently, I’ve discovered exactly what it must be like. I’ll explain with some generalized examples: Person X: So, where are you from? Me: New Jersey. Person X: Oh, "the Sopranos"! Me: No, um, New Jersey. Or, sometimes, when I’m just too tired to argue: Person X: So, where are you from? Me: (clearing throat, trying to hide nervous tic) New Jersey. Person X: Oh, the Sopranos! Me: (sigh) Yeah New Jersey. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not even saying that I don’t like The Sopranos, or Elvis for that matter. But the point is, I grew up in New Jersey, not The Sopranos, and those of you from Memphis didn’t grow up in Elvis. Rant concluded.

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