A funny thing happened last night. My wife and I were sitting down to watch the goggle box. It was that time of the evening where, if we were younger, we would be having sex. But we’re not, so we weren’t. We were watching television – the twenty first century’s replacement for sex.
And we found ourselves watching the 1968 Elvis comeback special.
And that’s when my wife – the most wise and wonderfullest person in the whole wide world – said a startling thing.
“Didn’t Elvis have funny ears?”
I like to think that I have an opinion on most things, but this one floored me. My gob was truly smacked. Until the Vegas years, Elvis was undoubtedly one of the prettiest men in existence. Even I know that and I’m a heterosexual bloke who is usually looking the other way.
My first instinct was to argue. This was Elvis. The King of rock and roll.
Admittedly, In 1968, he might not have been quite at the height of his powers. This was the year that the Beatles released the White Album. Sergeant Pepper was already a year old. The Stones were giving us Jumping Jack Flash and Beggars Banquet. It is two years since the Beach Boys astounded us with Pet Sounds.
Against that backdrop, “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, crocking all the time” sounds a little old fashioned. We’re not interested in blue suede shoes when we are walking barefoot in the parl. But you can’t deny the power and majesty of that voice.
Except we’re not talking about his voice, are we? What were his ears like?
And I had to admit that she had a point. The King of rock and roll had puffy ears. He had the sort of cauliflower ears that wouldn’t look out of place on a boxer or a prop forward for Llanelli.
Let’s take a peak…
See what I mean? They aren’t elephant-man hideous, but they aren’t exactly pretty either. It is almost as if he has been cloned by body stealing aliens and they haven’t quite got the hang of ears yet. They’re still working on that.
That got me thinking. We don’t generally look at ears, do we? Apart from Spock and Dumbo, I’m struggling to think of any famous ears. Ears only get exciting when we stick something in them, like ear rings. Or when they are particularly unattractive.
We gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. We wax lyrical about the shape and colour of someone’s lips. We notice big noses and cute button noses. But we don’t see ears.
Maybe that’s the point. If the body-stealing aliens aren’t very good at ears, maybe they hide them on purpose. Maybe this is all a bit of misdirection. They make us look at other facial features so we don’t notice that their R&D department is some way from perfecting lug ‘oles.
Or, more seriously, we go through our lives with our observational skills turned down. We just don’t notice things that are staring us in the face. Until someone points them out, and then we can’t stop noticing them.
Sorry about that. I sincerely hope I haven’t spoiled Elvis for you.
Let’s have another example. How about Madonna’s breaths? No, I said breaths and not breasts. Listen carefully to almost any early Madonna song and pay attention to the breaths she takes every few words.
Don’t believe me? Then listen to this.
Of course, everyone needs to breathe. But Madonna’s early records seem to have more gulps for air than many other singers. And now that you have heard it for the first time, you’ll hear it every time you listen to a Madonna song.
Mind you, when you sound like Madonna or look like this …
… who cares what your ears are like?