Pops & Popeye

Happy Birthday Elvis. I can’t believe you would have been 80; it seems like only yesterday.

Normally I don’t dish out birthday wishes to celebrities here at About Pops. But I do normally talk about myself and getting older.

“Then,” you might say, “you must be a big fan of Elvis and his music.”

No, not really. I looked at my iTunes library. I have one Elvis recording, Here Comes Santa Claus. That was a song on a Christmas album I bought.

You see, the deal is, Elvis and I share a birthday; today, January 8.

[cue up The Beatles, "When I'm 64"]

I talked to my Mom and Dad last night. (We senior adults call and check on one another when it’s bitter cold outside.) They were recalling the night of my birth. Apparently, I just barely made it on the 8th. A few more hours and I would be saying, “Happy Birthday” to Kate Middleton, Richard Nixon, Jimmie Page and Dave Matthews. Now there’s a couple of guys whose music I have lots of.

No complaints though. The King and I share the 8th with some pretty cool people and at least one nut-job. I’ll let you guess which one (or more): Stephen Hawking, R. Kelly, Noah Cyrus, Kim Jong-un, and Soupy Sales, just to name a few.

Birthdays are one of those contemplative days for me. You know—looking back and thinking about the days ahead. As happens, well-meaning people, and people selling books, tend to offer insight on days like this. This is from the WWW:

Capricorns born on January 8 seek to balance worldly concerns with an expression of their soul-needs. Although they strive for a pragmatic approach to life, they have a superstitious nature. They are gifted yet may be riddled with self-doubts. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that they have difficulty expressing their feelings through words.

Friends and Lovers
Because of their basic distrust of others' motives, it is hard for January 8 people to make friends. If trust is breached, the friendship is likely to end. They have a powerful love nature. They are romantics who demand total devotion. Even if they are not especially attractive they can cast a spell, drawing lovers to them with ease.

Children and Family
Even when they do not feel bound to family members, people born on January 8 are generous to them. They may have had a strict upbringing from which they lapsed in adulthood, creating guilt and dishonor. They make doting parents, anxious to give their children material as well as spiritual riches.

It’s like someone’s been reading my journals. I’m tempted to click the link and spend “$19.95 for the full report”.

On second thought: for what?! At 64, when it comes to stuff intended to make me more self-enlightened, I’m with Popeye, “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”

The Kings & I


Now, I don't claim to be Royalty--although "Sir Pops" has a nice royal/commoner ring to it. If only I could get word to the Queen.

I don't claim to be Royalty--although I really, really like that hot little pop song by Lorde called "Royals". Here are the lyrics to the catchy chorus. The song sort of hints that we can self-define royalty. So maybe I can be a Royal.

And we'll never be royals (royals).
It don't run in our blood,
That kind of luxe just ain't for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

You can check out the music video of Royals here.

Even with that, I still don't claim to be Royalty, however I do have a lot in common with two guys that are arguably among the most well known and loved Kings: King David and Elvis.

Notice they both have great hair and that cool little lip curl deal. I don't.

Quickly, let me say to my more fundamentalist friends: no, I am not comparing myself to a beloved Biblical stalwart. It may seem like that, but I'm not. Really. By the way, did you know that the name "David" means beloved? Just saying.

Starting with age before beauty, let's look at King David. Although I am known by two of the most important people in the world as "Pops", to many others I'm known by my given name: David. So he and I have that in common.

I think I may also share his propensity for being very well-intentioned but occasionally weak and narcissistic. Well--at least I'm that way. For example, I don't know for sure what I would have done if I had been king and noticed a babe like Bathsheba bathing on the roof of the house next door. But I'm not going to sit here like some kind of pompous, royal arse and pretend like I'm stronger than him.

We probably could all guess what Elvis would have done in a similar situation. He would have put a little extra Brylcream (because a little dab'l do ya) on the pompadour, grabbed his guitar and lured her over with some hip action and a siren song.

Detour: Speaking of the patented Elvis hip action. I'm confident if the boy had lived into his senior years, he most certainly would have been looking at at least one hip replacement.

So, how about Elvis? What similarity could I possibly claim to this renowned king? January 8. That's right. Elvis and I share a birthday.

Back in my first coming of age, I was not a fan of Elvis and his music--at all. Oh, I appreciated his breaking of rock and roll ground. But my tastes were more to acts like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, etc.

Unfortunately, back in the day when I listened to pop/rock radio, I had to spend every birthday listening to Elvis music, because it was his birthday too, and after all; he was The King.

Now, in my second-coming of age, I enjoy hearing a good Elvis standard or two. I now realize how important he was to the shift in musical culture. As was King David. That's right. David was a musician himself. And hey, so am I!

We know for sure David played the harp. He played for that nutty King Saul and chased his haunting spirits away. David also apparently organized the very first band--don't believe me?--It's in the Bible. (1 Chronicles 25) I wonder if they practiced in the garage of the royal chariot.

Sadly, we can't draw many lessons about living our second-coming of age from Elvis. He died 1n 1977 at the age of 42. I have learned this though:

"Wise men say, only fools rush in..."

King David, on the other hand, lived to be around 70ish. I did a bit of biblical research to see how he did in his old age and came up with this: 

When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him.  So his servants said to him, “Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.” 1 Kings 1:1-2

Wow. There's a concept for a "senior living center". I can see the TV ad now... and in the background Elvis is singing: "Are you lonesome tonight."

Here's my birthday conclusion: no matter how royal we may think we are, sometimes we ain't nothin' but hounddogs.

Happy Birthday Elvis--wherever you are.


Birthdays and Veteran's Day

Today is my Dad's 89 birthday. He is today just as I've always known him: a man of character, grace, and humility. I know I've taken for granted the privilege of having someone who is both a loving father and a role model. I've had the opportunity to learn from him how to be a better husband, a better father, and now a better grandfather. I hope I haven't squandered those opportunities.

He is today just as I've always known him: a man who loves his God, his family, and his country. I've been told by psychologist types that my values run deep. If my dad had been your dad, yours would too.

Happy Birthday Dad!


Let me tell you about the people in this photo and its significance. Of course that's my Dad in the center. I took this picture recently at the World War II Memorial in Washington. Dad is holding a Purple Heart that belonged to his brother-in-law, my Uncle Bob. Hang on this is going to get wild.

Uncle Bob was married to my Mom's sister, Aunt Betty. They had four kids. The baby of the four, Coral, married my wife's Brother Fred. That's Fred to my Dad's right. Fred is holding a picture of his dad, Ernest, who is also my wife's dad. So Fred is married to my first cousin and he is also my brother-in-law. The guy to Dad's left is Joe Cox.

Joe is Fred and Coral's son, my nephew. Joe is a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. Fred is a former Marine and now a Sergeant in the Army National Guard.

They are representing Ernest who is the father of my Amazing Missus and Fred, and is also Joe's grandfather, Ernest was a WWII Navy Veteran. They are also representing my Uncle Bob, who is Fred's father-in-law and Joe's grandfather, my Dad's brother-in-law and a WWII Veteran. Dad is a WWII Army Veteran having served in Central Europe. He is one of the ever-dwindling number of WWII Vets still living.

Thank you Fred Cox, Joe Cox, Ernest Cox, Bob Hillman, William Fuller and so many others for serving.