Life After Death: A Reason to Believe

 Steve Barile 




Ever since the evolution from quadruped to biped, one of the most mysterious, elusive and seemingly unanswerable questions to bedevil our species has been whether or not there is more to life: as in some existential existence beyond physical death.  We have ambitiously attempted to justify this "hope" with the creation of religions ( all of which promise a life eternal, beyond this one, provided we make regular monetary donations), superstitions, reincarnation (or as I like to call it: "re a tardation") and something now known as near death experiences (NDE). Although the NDE is undoubtedly an internally and/or externally induced hallucination and can even be a self induced one spawned by the dying brain, they are often times accepted as "scientific proof" of life after death. The ocean of denial knows no bottom.


 One "proof" of an NDE that I can personally attest to though was  revealed  through the insufferable "performances" recently intolerated during the broadcast of the 53rd annual Grammy awards debacle. No need to rehash the trash by naming names but in my attempt to illustrate  the NDE, I fear I must. Cee Lo Green and it's headdress was not only a ghastly sight but confirmation of a talent less individual whose only means of attracting attention is to decorate himself to resemble a peacock in heat. Bruno Mars was such a blatant rip-off of the late great James Brown that he should be investigated and violated by the JBE (James Brown Estate) for copyright infringement. The  desperate gimmicks and dramatic "symbolism" of Lady Ca-Ca is surely in place to camouflage her limited talent. I like to leave symbols to the symbol-minded. Oh my me! Pop has sunk lower than whale........stuff. At the end of the day our saviors came by way of Streisand and Jagger! Both reminding all of how it should be done! And as great as these seasoned pros are, they wont be selling out music halls around the world or achieving number 1 records decades after their physical demise. There is only one. Just 48 hours transpired between the NDE's of the Grammys and my personal experience with life after death. On Feb 15th 2011 I saw Elvis live again!


I thought that a great way to expose my 2 young sons and their girlfriends to the phenomenon of Elvis would be to whisk them off to Radio City Music Hall for " Elvis the Concert". Having seen the real thing live and up close 7 times, I am not easily excitable or impressed by the likes of ETA buffoonery or lavish acrobatic light shows which incorporate overproduced, remixed and artificial versions of Elvis' music. But upon entering the beautiful music hall, I began to feel an eerie presence of electricity in the air. The huge lobby was carpeted with a sea of people. As I greeted old friends and watched souvenirs selling abundantly, I marveled at the thought of all this activity for an artist whose physical death occurred well over 3 decades ago! Everyone seemed to be Elvis- conscious. Talking Elvis and critiquing the latest "import" cd or dvd and ecstatic with anticipation of the imminent "concert". Elvis lives?

 This production, dear reader, spares no expense in the illusion department! The lights dim and the 2001 theme begins to captivate the sold-out crowd. With Tutt's thunderous roll and horns blaring, celluloid Elvis appears in all his glory and basks in the deafening applause delivered by the LIVE audience. The acoustics at this venue are stunning and Elvis' voice sounds confidant, strong and dare I say........ALIVE! The TCB band is precise as the videos progress and for the length of the show reality is suspended. The inordinate enthusiasm of the New York crowd is displayed through  tearful emotion,  gleeful cheer, isle dancing and multiple standing ovations! Elvis lives? Following the closing vamp the announcer declares, "Elvis has left the building"! All is surreal.


 With the sight of broad smiles on the faces of family and friends and still high on the permeating electricity, I proceed over to the souvenir booths because I promised an out of town friend that I would purchase a few collectables for her. Well this was no easy task as the wait in line was ten deep! I observed in awe as the throng appeared ravenous with desire to consume. No one seemed to be cognizant of the fact that Elvis is no longer with us and hasn't been for decades. Thirty three years after death, Elvis continues to sell records, teach and even perform "live" to sold out crowds the world over. Elvis Lives! I reminded myself and others that only Elvis can live after dying (albeit metaphorically) and embraced  what I now call a near life experience!  So my doubtful fellow bipeds, rejoice! For there is life after death!  All one must do is come back as Elvis in the next life.  Adios!