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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 03:46 am

Elvis by the numbers

art9510

Elvis in the Mexican Calendar jumpsuit.

As I prepare to research Elvis Presley and numbers, what better snack than one of the King’s favorite repasts. According to one of the many Internet sites on everything-about-Elvis, the recipe is as follows:

Peanut butter and banana sandwich
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 slices light bread
1 banana, mashed
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
Mix soft peanut butter and mashed banana together. Toast bread lightly. Spread peanut butter and mashed banana on toast. Place into melted margarine; brown on both sides.

I, for the record, used wheat toast, crunchy peanut butter, and a sliced banana to make my sandwich. Also for the record, it’s a very tasty and healthy culinary delight, especially without the butter.

But what’s so interesting about the recipe from the King’s cupboard is not the ingredients but the numbers. Add up the tablespoons, bananas and slices and 8 is the sum. Why is this so amazing? Simply because Elvis had a fascination with numbers and numerology gleaned from the somewhat famous Cheiro’s Book of Numbers he kept as a constant companion along with his Bible and pharmacy handbook. And whatever Elvis found interesting, so did and does his legion of fans and followers. And 8, or numbers directly related to it, seems to be the digit folks like to make a mountain out of with all others designated molehills. And I found out how you get to 8 is not nearly as important as getting there.

This is common talk among the Elvisizing crowd, including our local prince of a tribute artist, Elvis Himselvis. Commonly called Rick Dunham, the actor and singer hosts an Elvis tribute concert this Sat., Jan. 7, as a benefit for the Mary Bryant Home at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The dates and number stuff is not lost on this student of Elvisness.

“This year Elvis would be 77 and he died in 1977. Not that I believe any of the number stuff, but others do,” he said. “Some guy came up to me at the state fair this year talking about Elvis coming back in 2012 because the numbers add up. He was dead serious.”

And why shouldn’t he be? It all makes sense when you take a look at the numbers – sort of. Elvis was born on Jan. 8, died on Aug. 16 (double 8 and the eighth month). The last live performance of the King came on June 26 (digits add up to 8) in 1977 (total of digits is 24). So 20 plus 12 equals 32 (four times eight) and during that last concert he wore the Mexican Calendar jumpsuit (irreverently referred to as the pizza jumpsuit) that’s close enough to the Mayan calendar to incur interest in Elvis and the End.

Is this all beginning to make sense or do you need more? How about adding up the letters in this important place for Elvis: Memphis, Tennessee. Yep, it comes to 16. Try Elvis Presley, and oops, it only comes out to 12. Let’s add his middle name of Aaron, darn it’s 17, but wait a minute his parents only gave him one “A” so now it comes out to 16. We’re not done yet. The sum of the Tiger Man’s Social Security number, 409-52-2002, is 24. His airplane was a model Convair 880 Jet. And a live concert recording released in 2000, from March 3, 1974, at the Astrodome has the big E proclaiming after the first song, “I’m Event Number Eight.”

All this leads to me fixing another peanut butter and banana sandwich. Just so I can say, “I 8 it.”

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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