Friday, November 18, 2011

Fat Elvis

A useful service a parent can offer a boy in his early teens, is to accept that the father is a foil for certain mirthful commentary by the son and his friends. I learned, through some sort of inadvertency in the grapevine, that I was referred to by the diminutive set as Fat Elvis! I think it had something to do with my 60's hair style, carried over a later time, rather than my singing voice or my pelvic inclinations. I wasn't particularly dismayed by this description as I recall, since I considered the source. It is important for a son to have the opportunity to rail away at his father with his friends and to share in the joy of their raillery with one another! Heaven knows there are far worse labels to apply to a parent than that of an aging Elvis. Elvis Presley and I were the same age. If they were more literate they could have called me something really demeaning like Sancho Panza. At any rate they would skulk around, claiming the smell was just Patch, shoelaces untied, and nothing done up, and claiming victory to themselves over the Foil. Little did they realize the honour felt, being compared to one of the finest voices and rhythm makers in the world, less the girth.I won't say I was glad to be called Fat Elvis as it smacked of schoolboy insolence, but as long as it was behind my back it remained unacknowledged. I have never yet asked him how that name came about. He may have even forgotten about this period. I just celebrated the fact that a little derision, particularly with your friends when bravado is practised, is part of the important and necessary distancing process! I could have got back at him by calling him "dear" in front of his friends, as I occasionally did when we were alone, but I assiduously avoided this in company. Like most conditions in life, if you wait it out in good humour, it gets better.

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