Can a dead man have a birthday? There is an anniversary of his death, certainly, but to me a birthday seems like an event that requires one be present. In order to celebrate a birthday one has to be alive, at the very least. I suspect, though, that I am in the minority on this matter. Every year, shortly after New Years, January 8th comes around and we are all reminded that it is Elvis’ birthday. Elvis is obviously a titan of a man, and I suppose if anyone is capable of celebrating a birthday from beyond the grave it is him.
Every so often one has to stop and think about how we will be remembered. Like most people, I hope to be remembered as a kind and charitable man, thought of fondly by those I love. But, I confess, I am greedy. I want more than that. I want something that I have seen in Elvis’ legacy. I am jealous not of his estate, or his lasting musical career. I’m jealous of the fact that everyone knows he loved a sandwich. The fried peanut butter and banana sandwich is his. You cannot consider it without thinking of him, it is his essence, presented in sandwich form. He may not be known for the sandwich but the sandwich is absolutely known for him, and I can only dream of taking such an association to my grave.
Seeing as it was the anniversary of the man’s birth, I tried to do his sandwich justice. The bread was a classic American sandwich bread, fresh out of the oven and made by my own hands. A fellow sandwich enthusiast was highly suspicious of my making a sandwich out of white bread. The man is forever on the hunt for flavor and as he told me, “I have yet to find a reason to hold any respect for white bread at all.” “It’s Elvis’ sandwich,” I told him. “What, are you going to use 7-grain?” Peanut butter went down on both slices of bread, sliced banana and a drizzle of honey in the middle. Fried in a skillet in enough butter to make me reconsider what I was doing entirely, the sandwiches came out wonderfully. The buttery, nutty sweetness is a celebratory decadence, a powerful combination that must be eaten a little bit at a time. I kept a tall glass of milk close by and took in the sandwich as it deserved. I may never be so known for any particular item but please, remember me as a man who loved a good sandwich.