Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Let’s Get Serious

Day 29: Has Been Canceled

I had to go home sick after about an hour. Let’s just say that I won’t eat crab pizza again.

LET’S GET SERIOUS, MOMENTARILY

How do you know something’s wrong with your society? When a guy with no shirt and yellow pajama pants is cutting himself by the Four Freedoms monument.

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In other news, last week I proved unable to open 1.) a bag of Chips Ahoy, and 2.) a soda bottle, in a timely manner. But I was highly motivated to gain access to both those items, so I got someone to assist me.

 

True Confessions

{Note: There was originally a line here that I edited out, and I can’t figure out how to make the white space go away, so I substituted this line in its place. Carry on.} {Yeah, I know this is more than one line, but I care insufficiently to do anything about it. Proceed.}

“YOU’RE NOT AUTISTIC, YOU’RE JUST ECCENTRIC!”

On the Anonymously Autistic blog, where I’ve been loitering lately, I found the official diagnostic definition here. (<== Look! Did you see that? I made a link! My first ever! This Blog School is turning out to be worthwhile after all! Maybe I better restrain my enthusiasm until I publish this and see if it actually works.) Leaving aside the obsessive way in which I carefully checked off each of the listed attributes and rated them for level of severity, I think I can put your doubts to rest with two simple observations:

  1. I rock back and forth when I listen to music. They call this “self-soothing” behavior, which I originally took issue with, thinking, “How would I feel if I didn’t do it? Oh–nervous and twitchy. OK.”
  2. As I walk along {“I wonder what went wrong, with our love, the love that was so strong…” Sorry. Too much listening to music.}, I often recite sequential lists of dates. I will not bore you with how these dates are selected.
  3. OK, make that 3 observations: I have difficulty recognizing people’s faces if I encounter them outside of their accustomed settings–colleagues outside of work, parishioners outside of church, Nick pretty much everywhere, etc. (I worked with that poor thing IN THE SAME ROOM, ON THE SAME SHIFT, FOR A YEAR–or so he claims–and don’t remember it.) My husband is the only exception. So if you run into me at Walgreen’s, or follow me down the street in your vehicle hoping to give me a ride, expect a blank stare initially. The only way to avoid that is to live with me for years. No, I’m not inviting you to move in.

Where the “high-functioning” thing (or maybe just “maturity”) comes in is, I’ve learned to not display my weirder traits in public, and I’ve also mastered Life Skills 101 (although I’m not sure about Life Skills 201). For example, not knowing how to dress properly got me in trouble at 3 different jobs. Since there were no dress codes to tell me exactly how to proceed, I just wore what I did when I wasn’t working. Back then, that involved lots of see-through shirts, halter tops, and black goth-y stuff that hadn’t yet become fashionable. So one supervisor told me, “Just because there’s no dress code doesn’t mean you can wear whatever you want.” See, I’d thought that was exactly what it meant. The “obvious” alternative–looking around to see what other employees were wearing–simply never occurred to me. How did I eventually discover that tactic? I read it in an article. Combine that sort of thing with my belief that making sustained eye contact with anyone will turn me to stone, and you can see why employers used to edge me out as soon as they could figure a way that wouldn’t involve paying me unemployment benefits.

Along with Life Skills, a structured and/or familiar environment helps a great deal, so I know just what to expect. I also have various Rules, so I don’t take forever to make decisions like, Where should I sit on this bus? What color underwear should I put on today? (Although I actually make those particular decisions in the reverse order from the way I just listed them.) (You know, it JUST OCCURRED TO ME that I could solve that one problem by just buying all-white underwear. You learn something new every day!)

Also, here (again from Anonymously Autistic) is an example of how one can “build” small talk “from the ground up,” so to speak.

Well, that was somewhat embarrassing, but I’ll live. Enough about me and why I’m weird. I’ve already dawdled over this post for too long, afflicted with “but what if they don’t want to read about my problems?” Well, if you don’t want to read about my problems, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE.

WHAT OTHER PROBLEMS DO I HAVE?

I have scratchy glitter on me from carrying Christmas packages. This is not optimum.

BUT LEST YOU THINK ALL I DO IS COMPLAIN…

I’m happy because I discovered rose-scented Vaseline for my lips.

AND, IN THIS SAD AND DESPERATE WORLD, I NOW HAVE A HERO!

“Real-Life Grinch Caught On Video Stabbing Inflatable Snowman.” Yes, Yes, YES!!!

 

 

3:26 and All Is Not Well

“…I was up till 3:30 last night,” says Stephen Colbert, as if there’s something unusual about that. I cannot rest until I write. I’m like Cat Esmerelda with petting–“I’VE DONE WITHOUT IT FOR DAYS, BUT NOW I MUST STAND IN THE HALLWAY AND YELL, AND GET IN FRONT OF YOU WHEN YOU TRY TO LEAVE THE ROOM, AND COME BACK AND GET YOU WHEN YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME, BECAUSE I HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW NOW NOW–”

Ahem. Anywayz, the 28th was Rom’s birthday (he’s 65! how did that happen?), and we went to Turoni’s with D. It’s a good thing I remembered what I wanted (3-cheese/chicken/broccoli pizza, yum!), because their current menu struck me like a blow (albeit a very minor one–unlike their bathroom, which thanks to their mid-century modern decorating scheme reminded me of the restrooms of my childhood, so I expected their toilet to do likewise, and instead it was a supersonic TOILET OF THE FUTURE, and startled me when I flushed), because the menu was an over-crowded BARRAGE OF WORDS, and I was momentarily overwhelmed. (The accompanying illustrations did not help. Pictures on a menu should be of food, not cartoon characters.) I had been thinking I might like an alcoholic beverage (or 2, or 3, or 4), but that required a separate menu to present their hellish profusion of beers, so that was Not Gonna Happen. By the way, the pizzas of my table companions were overly colorful. A pizza should not look like it has confetti strewn over it.

This post is reading like a grab bag of World Leader Edicts. And I’ve only just begun.

MY PROBLEM WITH THE INDIANA REVENUE SERVICE

You didn’t know I had one, did you? Neither did I.

Nothing like a letter from that source which cheerily begins, “We’re NOT accusing your of identity theft!” Oh?

“…but you need to go to our website, and pass a quiz to verify your identity, which will only take a few minutes, and we’ll give you 3 chances to pass it, and then we’ll send you your refund, if you first tell us the exact amount of the refund you were claiming.”

Really?

I grumpily went to my pile of leftover tax documents. Well, guess what? After doing the taxes, I had separated the paperwork into 2 piles–one to toss and one to keep–and guess what I did. That’s right, I threw the wrong ones away. Stuff like this would make me think dementia is setting in, except that I’ve been doing stuff like this my whole life. It’s a wonder I can even feed myself. Oh wait, I don’t, Rom feeds me. Well, not by hand, because I bite.

Soooo…I don’t have the paperwork they require, so I need to call them, at their non-toll-free number. How can I prove I’m not the identity thief they’re not accusing me of being? Maybe they’ll tell me to come up to Indianapolis with my state I.D. (it’s like a driver’s license, except that it says Don’t Let This Person Drive) to get my refund.

You know, I carefully arrange my life so I seem normal, to myself and others. But going to a city I’ve never been to, where I know no one, and try and find a building I’ve never been to? That is so Not Gonna Happen. They can just keep my refund, paltry as it is. Identity theft has claimed another victim.

S.G. Is 3 Years Old, For What It’s Worth

BEFORE YOU I STAND, SINFUL AND SORROWFUL AND STUFF

It has been a month since my last confession, I mean post. I was attempting to have a period of, shall we say, discernment, because I discerned that I seemed to be repeating myself, and feared I was running out of stuff to write about. But how can this be, as long as there is…

CRISIS IN PROGRESS: THE PERFECT CRIME

Drug store clerk reporting a theft:

“The guy’s been in here before, and he always takes liquor bottles into the bathroom, and empties them into a container he brings with him. He’s thin, has a mullet and missing teeth, and always brings his wife who’s in a wheelchair, but I’m not sure she really needs it.” Could he be more perfectly-suited to his crime? All he needs is a tattoo that says “100% Honky” (there are actually several people in this town who have that tattoo, although they disagree on the spelling of “honky”) and a car with flames painted on the sides. We can only hope he has a meth lab waiting for him when he gets home.

Anyway, I am trying to find ways to make this blog a little less, well, impaired, but, y’know….Interestingly (or not–YOU BE THE JUDGE), no one’s dared to nag me for not posting this time around. Maybe you’ve abandoned hope, or perhaps you feared it would lead to whining.

WHINING

Everyone says, “Life isn’t fair,” but WHY ISN’T IT? We all agree that it ought to be, so what gives?

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL

There is software you can get (well, you can–I have a special old-folks computer {to go with my special old-folks phone} which keeps things uncomplicated so it’s not overwhelming, and I therefore can’t add software) which will delete your work if you don’t keep writing regularly. That’s supposed to be motivational. I guess it would be, in the same way that someone smacking you if you didn’t write would be–I’m not sure if I’d actually write more, or just curl up in a spiny ball of despair.

A WARNING I HAD TO GIVE ON THE AIR

“Subject has Asperger’s syndrome, cannot make eye contact, and may become violent when touched.” Since when is it a law that one has to make eye contact? Also, I think that not being touched by police sounds like a pretty good deal. Hey, I’m un-arrestable! It’s like another alert I had to give–“Subject is barred from jail property.” Score!!

 

 

Solid Sheet of Iceville

Now that we’ve entered S. S. of I. season, let me remind my co-workers of the SOLID SHEET OF ICE QUADFECTA! If you can be involved with the following:

–A reckless driver is all over the road, hits a solid sheet of ice, and shears off a pole, and then when confronted about it, puts his/her hands on someone, you will win…something with scratchy glitter on it, I guess. Chosen by me. Reluctantly.

LET’S GET SEMI-SERIOUS

Seen on Facebook–“Remember when we used to call stalkers ‘secret admirers’?” Let’s just turn that inside out, shall we? Now we live in an age when we call secret admirers “stalkers.” As if anyone who’s too shy to tell you about their feelings probably means you harm. (Nick takes notes, since he’s keeping his admiration for me very secret indeed.) 

SPEAKING OF WHICH…

There is a picture of me down at police HQ, along with other exotic dispatchers of the 80’s. (I think I’m the only one in the lineup who still works here.) Nick, who probably has to pass this picture a dozen times a day, informed me that I am a “living time capsule.” I can only hope this refers to my timelessly youthful appearance, and not to the fact that my hairstyle hasn’t changed since 1985.

WHICH BRINGS US TO…

…as you feared it would…

MY HAIR THROUGH THE AGES

CHILDHOOD: The Prince Valiant cut. This style actually landed me in the school Christmas pageant in the first grade, as one of the Three Kings’ pageboys. (Yes, schools had Christmas pageants about Jesus back then.) My mother thought I looked adorable in this style, even though my bangs would not lie flat unless they were taped to my forehead while they dried.

TEENAGEHOOD: My dark-blonde hair started growing in dark-brown. My mother was distressed at this sign of her Little Girl Growing Up and insisted on bleaching it blonde again. The problem with this was that the color (Miss Clairol in Topaz, now mercifully discontinued) looked brassy and cheap in the worst sort of way (in other words, not “cheap” in the sexy way).  Girls made fun of me for it (boys seemed to prefer making fun of me for my acne instead), and I begged to be allowed to grow it out, but my mother refused. In sophomore year of high school, I finally rebelled and dyed it back to brown (still Miss Clairol, this time in Sun-warmed Brown.) This was also the Year of the Shag. My best friend drew a stick-figure cartoon of me for the underground newspaper I wrote for back then. You could tell it was me because it had glasses and my hair was sticking straight up, since I had a nervous habit of running my fingers through it.

SINCE THEN, EXCEPT FOR AN INTERVAL IN THE 2000’S AFTER SURGERY (FEMALE PROBLEMS, DON’T ASK OR I’LL TELL) (OK, SURGICAL SHOCK MADE 15% OF MY HAIR FALL OUT, SO I GOT IT CUT SHORT): I started growing my hair out at just the age when most women decide they’re too old for long hair, for whatever reason they decide that. I don’t style it. I don’t “do anything” about all the gray in the front. So, for all the people who’ve said it would look nice if I’d just “do something” with it–no, this is on purpose. Unlike the barbecue sauce I got all over my clothes on Sunday, which I hope no one at work noticed.

GETTING SERIOUS AGAIN

I was going to sing a David Bowie song in the shower, but I have a cold and I’m losing my voice. (And it doesn’t take long for me to get tired of brilliant-green snot.) So I listened to Ziggy Stardust instead. Ziggy Stardust inspired my high school boyfriend (actually, it was only a “relationship” on my part) to get his long hair cut into a shag, to my dismay–after he dumped me, to my greater dismay. I hadn’t actually heard Ziggy Stardust at that point–that had to wait until I discovered Rom’s record collection 6 years later.

“I could fall asleep at night as a rock and roll star

I could fall in love alright as a rock and roll star…

Yes, I used to think that was a prerequisite.

I Have Flat-Lined

Well, my statistics have, anyway. Apparently people will go away if you ignore them. Well, except that one lonely reader on the 29th. Stalker. No, I can’t tell who you are. Relax.

I FORGOT MORE THAN YOU’LL EVER KNOW

Prepare to be appalled–if you’re not, you’re PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Three teenagers were sitting in a booth at McDonald’s, two guys and a girl. One of the guys mentioned Joan of Arc. The girl said, “Who’s that?” He answered, “A female who led soldiers in the Middle Ages.” The girl said, “Well, I didn’t learn about princesses. That’s fairy-tale shit.” Um, no, that’s not a fairy tale. That’s what we call “history,” which means it ACTUALLY HAPPENED. (Also, Joan of Arc was pretty much the opposite of a princess.) Of course, maybe they don’t teach history in high school anymore. They’ve been told not to teach entire novels anymore, so I take nothing for granted.

RAGING AGAINST THE NEW NORMAL

Speaking of which, I hate “the new normal.” The term is always used when something sucks, and they’re telling you there’s nothing you, or anybody, can do about it, which is puzzling, considering that the suckage is usually caused by, you know, people.

OR JUST PLAIN RAGING

The other day, I heard an officer on an off-channel say that I was “jacked-up.” I then proceeded to prove him right by fuming about it to my co-workers for the next ten minutes. Oddly, I was also once referred to as “laid-back” by a different colleague.

AND SPEAKING OF MOOD SWINGS…

Remember I quoted from an article the other day about losing weight by avoiding stress, and avoiding stress by using mint/lavender/vanilla fragrances? I found a candle at Walgreen’s that combines them all (in separate layers, lest confusion reign)! If I can’t resist purchasing it, I’ll be sure to let you know how much weight I lost as a result!

CONFUSION REIGNS ANYWAY

CVS started putting out Halloween decorations BEFORE IT WAS EVEN SEPTEMBER, and my early favorite is various animal skellingtons–cats, rats, crows, etc. (Actually, I don’t think there is an “etcetera.” I think you’re limited to cats, rats, and crows.) There are also a couple of Evil Clown statuettes (the Evil Clown being a role model of mine), but I don’t know if they were actually for sale, or just standing guard over the cats, rats, and crows.

I AM A LOOSE CANNON

The next time a caller complains about unsatisfactory response time, insufficient manpower, etc., I may not be able to resist saying, “It’s because of all the people voting for property tax caps.” (I did not, before you ask.) I probably will be able to resist saying it, though, because I have awesome powers of self-control.

Crisis In Progress: How To Get Rid Of Me

This is going to be mostly job-related, so those unrelated to my job may want to skip it. I personally find every aspect of my job fascinating, even its annoying aspects, but you might not be so lucky.

First, I went to a gathering celebrating the departure of my former colleague L.K., who decided she’d rather dig holes for a living. (She should consult with Nick, who likes to dig holes and then curl up in the cool mud.) We had an appetizer plate of deep-fried geometric shapes (cubes and rods of different kinds of cheese, and blobs where you had to guess if the contents were cauliflower or mushrooms–perilous for me, since I like the former and dislike the latter). Anyway, I drank 2 frozen strawberry daiquiris in rapid succession (rapid enough to cause throat pain). This is turning out to be quite a social month!

“But how do we get rid of you?” they ask, hypothetically.

Well, everywhere I go, someone asks me when I’m going to retire. And it’s been pointed out to me that now I’m not only #1 in seniority, but THE OLDEST PERSON HERE! (If anyone else is over 60, feel free to correct me. Then I will curl up in a spiny ball.) So, the short answer is I DON’T KNOW!! But there’s always a longer answer, so here are hypothetical situations which would hasten my departure.

HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS WHICH WOULD HASTEN MY DEPARTURE

(All have some connection to reality, however tenuous.)

–They relocate Dispatch to the jail. Unacceptable for 3 reasons:

1. Too far away for someone who doesn’t drive.

2. Doesn’t it sound like a wee bit of a security risk? Just a little?

3. Could you possibly make the job a little more depressing?

–We go to 12-hour days, or 16-hour days. Why is there this idea that people working a stressful job should have longer work days than the rest of the world? “But then you’d get three days off!” I DON’T CARE! We tried 10-hour days once, and I spent the first day off catching up on sleep, so it was meaningless.

–They take away the union.

–They take away pensions.

–They decide to have one statewide dispatch center. I have dealt before with Just Because We Can Doesn’t Mean We Should, so I won’t go into it now. And why stop at statewide? Why not one national 911 center? Many callers already think that’s the case.

OK, one non-job-related fact: Chocolate is not, in fact, better than sex. I carried out a comparison study last night.

Once Upon a Time…

BEING THE HISTORIE OF A VISIT PAID…

…to the estate of MY BLUE HEAVEN, on ye Weste Side, by NICHOLAS ALAN, a laidly WYRM of fearsome aspect and underparts of dazzling whitenesse. The said BEASTE was accompanied by his trusty servant TUCKER, a dogge of brindle coat and cheerful demeanor, but without much of sense.

“Where are the COOKIES of which I heard tell?” the said Nick roared. “I would have them for dessert, for I have eaten many frogges.” But all was silent within. “Tucker,” said Nick to his faithful companion, “thou must go within and fetch the cookies in my stead, for I cannot breathe fire, and have not even a stinger on the end of my tayle.”

The said dogge then pushed the door open, to the shock and awe of all within. But he was repelled by the mighty GLAMOUR, a catte known far and wide (“especially wide,” Esmerelda whispers) as the Empress Calicula the First. The Empress emerged from the dark recesses to do battle, with blazing eyes and a tayle like to a brush used for cleaning bottles. (Esmerelda, ye Catte of Service, remained within the dark recesses, discretion being the better part of valor in her eyes.) (“And her eyes be slightly crossed,” the noble Empress reminds us.) (The Empress reminds us also that Esmerelda, like her Disney namesake, cannot be called a Princess, because of her questionable background.)

{Disclaimer: No animals were injured in the course of this story. If any had been, Nick would be in big trouble. And would have had to leave without cookies.} {Go away, or I will taunt you again!} {stolen from Monty Python}

{Other Disclaimer: The style of this tayle, I mean tale, was pretty much stolen from an episode of Cat Town [www.spatch.net], but since the site hasn’t been updated since May ’05, I doubt he’s paying attention.}

GUESS WHO’S BACK? BACK AGAIN…

(stolen from Eminem, because I’m in a mood)

…because I just can’t be eradicated completely.

ALL JOBS HAVE THEIR PROBLEMS

–At McDonalds: “But I just cleaned the ladies’ room an hour ago!”

–At Walgreen’s: “Someone locked the bathroom stall door and then crawled out, so now no one can get in.”

–Also at Walgreen’s, manager speaking to another employee: “It depends on whether they have a better soda ad than we do. Across the street”–cocking head in direction of CVS–“they’re having a sale on Pepsi products next week.” I was tickled both by CORPORATE ESPIONAGE–how did a manager at Walgreen’s know what CVS will be putting on sale next week?–and by the euphemism “Across the Street” for their corporate rival. The Store Which Is Not To Be Named.

PEOPLE I DISAPPROVE OF

–A woman in tiny shorts and top which showed off her great big swastika tattoo.

 

Festival Day 1: We Fry Everything

But first…

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INTERNET ARGUMENTS: CLICHES ON FIRE

If I see the phrase “hypocritical Bible-thumping Christians” (especially effective when misspelled) ONE MORE TIME, I’ll–thump a Bible, I guess. There are hypocrites in every religion, and I’ve known some self-righteous atheists as well. And it’s not because “religion brings out the worst in people,” but because ANYTHING people have strong feelings about–politics, money, sex–can bring out the worst in them. That’s why we need a police force.

Now that I’ve set the record straight, let’s move on to fried things. Actually, I had nothing fried myself (ribeye sandwich, blackberry cobbler) (SWIRCA booth, ever-reliable cobbler source), but in a world that can give you chicken-fried bacon (with ranch dipping sauce, because it was too wholesome before) and pickle-juice slushies (how about maraschino cherry-juice slushies? that’s something I might actually try)…

I was, as usual, undercover as a 12-year-old boy (well, except for the yoga pants) (and the careful accessorizing), in an attempt to return the Festival to its Halloween roots. My orange skull T-shirt was pronounced “really something” by adults who thought I hadn’t heard them, and “awesome!” by a girl who looked to be about 11.

WE CREATED IT, LET’S TAKE IT OVER

–Sentiment courtesy of Patti Smith, referring to M-M-My Generation and rock and roll. I am pleased and proud to announce that the music on the midway was HARD ROCK, AS IT SHOULD BE, and not that non-rock stuff it had been for many years previously. To herald my arrival on the grounds, they played “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” (“But if you do them dirt-cheap,” Nick wants to know, “how much could my cut be?” Fear not, Nick, you will be paid in deep-fried Reese cups.)

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I GET MY HEART BROKEN TWICE

On the way to the festival, I passed a young cat on the sidewalk, which arched its back and looked up at me hopefully. Little one, are you lost? Or did someone care enough to put a collar on you, but not enough to keep you inside so you’re not at the mercy of strangers on the sidewalk? I spoke to it kindly, but did not touch it, lest it try to follow me.

And on the way from the festival, I stopped in at the Pet Food Center, and there was a yellow-and-white cat up for adoption–“Neutered and micro-chipped! Adoption fee only $30!” He looked up at me sadly, as if he knew what the outcome of non-adoption could be.

When I got home, my service cat Esmerelda (the reason why I can’t adopt another cat at this time) greeted me purring and led me to the bed to be cuddled. As if she knew.

Talking To Myself

I almost discontinued this blog. (“WHAT?!” Nick screeches, leaping to his feet. “But when we have our ridealong–who will write about my great and terrible deeds–and–and–” He sinks down, clamping his wings tightly against his body, buries his face in his tail and sobs. Sighing, I continue…)

I almost discontinued this blog, because, well, because it’s too late to be Elvis Presley. But Rom staged an intervention, and convinced me that I am, in fact, addicted. So, FanBase, to thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful–but yet oddly arrogant–and bring you–

SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY WITH NICK!

–Whose visit (with the ever-indulgent Sam) to Dispatch the other day raised the question: How would salvation history be different if, when Eve offered Adam the apple, he’d refused to take it? Actually, Nick also provides us with the answer: Adam would then preen, congratulating himself on his willpower, and thereby show himself prideful, and we’d end up in the same fix anyway.

–Did you know there’s a variety of apple named after me? “Great for applesauce!” the bag cheerfully informs us.

I suppose I shouldn’t beat up on the helpless beast, who did, after all, give me part of his chocolate bar. Note to co-workers: The next time he says, “Anyone else want some?” I would like all of you to say yes, so he ends up with no chocolate bar whatsoever. (I promise to consume any chocolate you don’t want.) And would you like an apple now, Nick?

AND SPEAKING OF EVIL DEEDS AND APPLES…

I’d felt mildly miffed that the Disney Princesses lip balms I distributed at the July 4th party did not include a nod to the Dark Side. But Disney has rectified this oversight for Halloween, with Disney Villains lip balms! My heroine Maleficent gets Ruthless Red Licorice (I can’t think of red licorice as ruthless–does it have any taste other than plastic?), Cruella de Ville got one which I can’t now bring to mind, and somebody else–the design on the tube made it hard to tell who–got Evil Fruit Punch. I am in no need of lip balm, thanks to Nick & Sam’s birthday present to me this year, but these products tempt me nonetheless.

Well, I am up too late, considering I must answer phones tomorrow. The last time I did so, I literally didn’t have time to blow my nose, because people were butt-dialing all over town. It really gets old. As do we all. Too late to be Elvis Presley, too early to be anything else.

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