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TAKING CARE OF BONG HITS

TAKING CARE OF BONG HITS

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The festivities surrounding Elvis' birth week always pale in comparison to the teeming tent revival of Death Week, but at least one glossy periodical has given Memphis' favorite Capricorn a little present. In a move that surely caused the image-conscious Elvis Presley Enterprises to say, "Holy @%&ing son-of-a-%&!$#!!!," High Times, the Cigar Aficionado of hardcore potheads, has made an older, hairier, more zoned-out Elvis its February cover boy. In his touching story about eating a gob of acid and interviewing fans at Graceland during the Candlelight Vigil, reporter Chris Simunek never shies away from the tough questions. "Do you get the impression that maybe there's a jar somewhere with Colonel Parker's brain in it that's calling all the shots?" he asks. Well, do you? But it's in Simunek's obligatory stoner side-trip deep into the mystical Mississippi Delta, searching for that lonely old crossroads where blues hero Robert Johnson supposedly swapped his soul for a finely tuned guitar, that things get really, REALLY cosmic. "I had questions that could only be answered by an eternal being," he writes, unable to fathom why Satan would claim Johnson so soon after the infernal contract was signed and asking why nice guys like Elvis have "to die at 42 ... while [Ronald] Reagan lives a long, vicious life and gets to spend his autumn days pampered and spoon-fed, his conscience wiped as clean as a newborn baby's." Of course it doesn't take an eternal being to answer any of those old questions. Duh! Those who accept material goods or talents from the devil in exchange for his right to spank their souls for eternity become Satan's hos, and, like most hos, live short, hard, superficially glamorous lives. On the other hand, those who willingly do the devil's work using their self-acquired, or possibly God-given talents, enter into limited partnership with the dark forces and receive an extensive benefits package with a nice "golden parachute." As for poor Elvis? Well, that ol' boy just didn't eat right.

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