The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 04, 1997, Page 5, Image 5

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    To sleep, perchance to dream
Waking up only chance to make life livable
At 2 in the morning on the day
of my deadline, the topic of sleep
comes to mind. And being only a
couple days removed from those
four glorious nights of drunken
debauchery otherwise known as
Labor Day Weekend, I’m sure I’m
not the only one.
At first glance, a column
devoted to the subject of sleep may
seem a waste of time. Considering,
however, that artist Andy Warhol
pnce devoted an eight-hour film to
observing a man in the throes of
slumber, this particular waste of
time pales in comparison. And
whereas, the intent of Warhol’s
“genius” proved to be rather
obscure, I hope this column, and
the cheesy metaphor herein, can
successfully remove the glaze
from more than a few pairs of
An opening like that is bound
to demand a yawn from the hearti
est of readers (after all, it drew
more than one such yawn during
its composition), but if you can
stand to shun the Sandman for the
next 10 minutes, I’d like to proffer
your complimentary wake-up call.
And since you made the Herculean
effort of dragging yourself out of
bed this morning anyway, you
might as well be awake, too.
As an English major with three
years of higher education under
my belt, I see myself as somewhat
of an authority on sleep. To put it
briefly, as I rarely do, me and the
snooze button are pretty tight.
What I haven’t learned from first
hand experience, I’ve managed to
glean from the actions, or should I
say inactions, of my friends.
Eight hours of sleep per night
is good - 10 is better, especially
if those extra two hours come at
the expense of a morning lecture
because, let’s face it, you’re
going to sleep through class any
Sleep also tends to be self
perpetuating - the more you get,
the more you need. But then again,
there’s no such thing as too much
of a good thing, right?
Now, before I lose the more
diligent members of my audience
- those non-trads and honors stu
dents, engineers and architects
among you who subsist on
antacids and ephedrine (“trucker
speed”) ever the course of the aca
demic year - I’ll attempt to make
my point.
Being “asleep” is a relative
term. Obviously, most people
equate sleep with the nightly rou
tine of inciting unconsciousness.
But I know quite a few people who
have been asleep since I met them
and have shown no signs of true
consciousness, yet. They aren’t
comatose. Somnambulism (sleep
walking) doesn’t seem a likely
diagnosis, either. Perhaps an
example, albeit a rather bizarre
one, will clarify this admittedly
ambiguous metaphor. As I child, I
can remember having an incredi
bly vivid and eerily progressive (it
would actually pick up where it
left off on subsequent nights)
dream. This dream proved to be so
realistic that, for a short time, I
actually believed it to be reality
and my waking life to be the actu
al dream - I’ll be the first to admit,
I was a funny little tyke.
But whether they know it or
not, there are far too many people
who live their lives in a similar
manner; every day, their
ambitions extend no
further than
their daily routine. They slide by
in class or at work with the mini
mal degree of effort and long for
that moment when the bell sounds
or the whistle blows signaling
their right to do nothing for the
rest of the day. Eventually they go
to sleep in preparation for the next
day’s routine, and inevitably, their
dreams prove more significant
than their waking lives.
Ultimately, most of the people
I know simply lack any semblance
of direction in their waking
moments. Now, I must step lightly
to avoid the stumbling blocks of
hypocrisy. After 21 years of misdi
rection, I’m still fairly groggy
myself. And although I’m still
uncertain of where it is I’m head
ed, I’ve finally come to terms with
where I am and why I am here.
From what I’ve heard, these are
the best years of our lives. It’s the
last time we are allowed to legiti
mately put our inhibitions to sleep,
as it were, and
enjoy our
College is
snooze button, and the dreams
and nightmares which ensue dur
ing these four to five years will
have the most lasting influence
upon the rude awakening that is
- drum roll, please - the real
During high school, I fell
under the tyrannical, though fairly
entertaining, influence of a jour
nalism adviser who demanded
that, “We are not here to do what
we like but to learn to like what we
do.” Upon entering college, I, like
so many other wide-eyed fresh
men, was under the false pretense
that this misguided philosophy
would hold true at the next level.
The daunting process of choos
ing a major and beginning an
undergraduate program upon my
enrollment scared me to death. As
far as I knew at the time, these
were the decisions that would
shape my career and thus the rest
of my life. Only recently have I
senior English and news
editorial major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
accepted that we are not he^re to
learn to like what we do, but rather
to learn what we like to do. And it
is that passion which will
inevitably wake each one of us
from our respective slumbers.
Such passion, however, has an
incredibly elusive tendency; I’ve
been biding my time for the past
three years and have yet to be
truly inspired by any aspect of my
education. It would seem that the
real trick of the matter is to live
our dreams rather than dreaming
our lives. It’s an idea so cliched
that another yawn seems in order;
unfortunately, it takes most peo
ple a midlife crisis to live by it.
/ v
It s good to be king
Fan or not, it is your duty to visit Graceland
TED TAYLOR is a senior
news-editorial major and
a Daily Nebraskan
assignment reporter.
It’s on a street just like any other
busy street in any other decent-sized
There’s your Burger King, Taco
Bell, Holiday Inn, car dealerships
and dry cleaners sitting alongside
four lanes of suburban city traffic.
But as you casually pass EP
Motors, Texaco and the Days Inn
Hotel with the guitar-shaped pool,
you quickly find yourself entering a
strange, surreal new world.
Welcome to Graceland.
It’s not exactly the setting I
imagined to find the beloved man
sion and home to the King of Rock
’n’ Roll. It’s as far as you can get
from the scene of a secluded acreage
tucked away into a quiet, wooded
area of Memphis that I had pictured.
Instead, if I would have (for
some reason), needed to ask direc
tions, the guy in the gas station next
to the Super 8 Motel with the 24
hour Elvis movies would have point
ed me down the street to the first
house on the left just passed the
used car lot. “You can’t miss it,” he’d
That much is for sure.
Every corner along U.S. 55
Solrth, which leads you to the con
gested Elvis Presley Boulevard, fea
tures a sign leading the way to the
Graceland grounds.
Once there, you’ll find a huge
parking lot ($2 a car), two of the
King’s private jets, a garage filled
with EP’s classic cars and motorcy
cles, a ticket center, three gift shops,
a tiny movie theater and a couple of
Beginning in the parking lot, the
mood becomes fever-pitched as
families start strapping small chil
dren in strollers and loading film in
to one or more cameras.
But for a person like me, the
Elvisly uninspired, it started to feel
like I was about to enter a crazy rock
’n’ roll amusement park where
hours of enjoyment (and maybe an
upset stomach) awaited.
As you enter the ticket center,
that feeling is confirmed when you
start to feel the built-up excitement
and see the mass of people - all of
whom are talking about the King -
snaked around metal railings, a-la
Worlds of Fun.
But this is the World of Elvis,
and for some visiting on this day, the
trip to the King’s home is a pilgrim
age. They had no problem paying
$10 to see the mansion or $4 to see
the jets or $4.50 to see the cars.
Most just coughed up the $18.95
to see it all - the Platinum Package.
As I stood in line waiting for the
shuttle bus to take us the 100 yards
across the street and up the driveway
to the front doors, I couldn’t help
but begin to crack up.
It was just hard to comprehend
that I was standing in line to board a
bus to see Graceland. The home of
the King, EP’s hideaway, E and
‘Cilia’s mansion - rock ’n’ roll heav
en for crying out loud.
While waiting for the bus you’re
greeted by a group of high school
and college-aged men and women
who are paid to just stand there with
arms extended. Small stereo head
phones hang from one arm, a
portable cassette tape player from
the other arm.
Meet your Graceland tour guide.
There’s no Elvis impersonator
greeting you at the front gate before
taking you on a tour of “his house.”
There’s no gal dressed up 5Os-style
showing you the Jungle Room of her
biggest crush.
Nope, your tour guide for the
afternoon is the slow, southern
drawl of a strange man on a cassette
tape player hanging from your neck.
And if the batteries in your player
happen to be a bit worn down, the
man’s voice is even slower.
But in a most sincere voice, the
man on the tape tells you things
about Elvis, his career, what he liked
to do in the house, features of the
mansion and little known facts
about the Presley family. All the
while the voice leads you around the
house with commands like, “Now
turn right and walk into the
kitchen,” and “Notice the ceiling of
the Jungle Room and its green shag
“Elvis covered the room in car
pet to absorb sound, and many
nights were spent recording while
the King sat on that tiger-print
You get the idea.
Pricilla’s soft voice is also heard
throughout the tape as an additional
tour guide with quotes and stories to
go along with each room.
“Oh how Elvis loved to watch
television,” she said of the 14 TV
sets scattered throughout the man
sion. But upon hearing her voice, all
I could think about were the “Naked
Gun” movies she appeared in.
The tape thing got pretty old
pretty fast. Thankfully there was no
penalty for stripping off the head
phones and going about the tour on
your own once you left the house
and entered Vernon’s offices and the
trophy room out back.
After walking through the tro
phy room, which houses all of Elvis’
capes, belts, records,' awards, jump
suits and whatnot, the tour nears its
end and the mood of the group
changes from excitement and inter
est to sorrow and sadness.
The cameras come out and peo
ple become silent as they mournful
ly look down upon the grave of Elvis
Presley, his mother, his father and
his stillborn baby brother, Jesse.
I guess they let people go up to
the “Meditation Garden” freely for
90 minutes a day before the daily
tours start. I was told there is always
a number of people who walk up the
driveway to pay their respects to the
fallen King everyday.
Those must be the real fans.
Those who remember what they
were wearing and what they were
doing the day Elvis died.
For me, the drive to Memphis
was just something I had to do. I was
probably alone at Graceland that
day in that I don’t own a single Elvis
album and the closest thing to a fan
I am is that I named my hound dog
after him.
Going to Graceland is something
that everyone should do. Whether
we like to admit it or not, it is as
much our duty to visit Graceland as
it is to visit Washington, D.C.
Even if you don’t know what
color his suede shoes were, even if
you don’t know what kind of sand
wiches he liked and even if you
don’t own an Elvis record, like me;
you must go.
Just remember, it’s the first
house on the left past the used car
lot. You can’t miss it.