Elvis is alive. But you probably knew that. Or maybe you just suspected it. As inglorious an end as it may have seemed to have the King pass away on his throne, the news that he had faked his death came as sweet relief to his millions of fans. Not that cheating the grim reaper resulted in a world tour or a flurry of new recording. Instead, Mister Presley chose to leave the public life behind to take it on the road in the most inconspicuous ways.
Or maybe it was all a lot of hooey. I have heard of people who use the question of Elvis' mortality as a litmus test for relationships. Some believe it's probably best to pair up based on shared beliefs. For example, those who believe that Jim Morrison did not overdose in Paris, but rather he chose to live out the rest of his life after the age of twenty-seven without a care for how he looked in a pair of leather pants. Jim could grow his beard or cut his hair and write bad poetry He didn't have to be the Lizard King or dance on fire. He could just go out for a cheeseburger or two and keep to himself.
Or maybe not.
Keeping our celebrities alive is a relatively new conceit, whereas the tragic early death of stars has been a mainstay in pop culture for decades now. James Dean. Janis Joplin. John Belushi. Kurt Cobain. The idea that this final leave of absence was really more of a sabbatical than a final destination was kind of a corollary to all the conspiracy theories that floated around all those poor unfortunate souls. It makes us feel better, I suppose, to feel that somehow it really is better to burn out than to fade away, but not all the way out.
That's why I have decided to believe that there is a Celebrity Relocation Program. They are the ones who staged the elevator incident with Prince, who is now taking a much deserved break and is probably going door to door handing out copies of The Watchtower to his neighbors in Minneapolis. Under an assumed name. With the requisite Unabomber hoodie and shades. David Bowie is living somewhere in the countryside in upstate New York, just a few doors down from John Lennon. Every so often Amy Winehouse drops by to borrow a cup of sugar for the pie she's baking. Chris Farley is waiting and he's hungry.
It's so much nicer than the alternative.