Guilty Pleasures: Tom Schreck

It’s no secret I’m an Elvis fan.

I like to think of myself as an intellectual follower of the king. In fact I’ve become online buddies with professors who teach college level courses on Elvis at the University of Iowa and at Tennessee State University. Yeah, I appreciate more than just the red velvet Elvis.

You see, to me, Elvis changed the world. Simply put, white people didn’t express themselves like Black people before Elvis. He was the perfect storm of cultures—born in the poor rural white south, raised in the poor Jim Crow but integrated Memphis neighborhood, and pushed up against black and white gospel music. In essence, he was a purely American product, which both elevated him and ultimately killed him.

He didn’t merely adopt the art form of another culture—he lived the blues and everyone from BB King to James Brown acknowledged that he earned his stripes to play the way he did. Jackie Wilson once said. “Did Elvis copy us? Who do you think we got our moves from.”

In 2012 singing and moving black may seem like no big deal but in the 1954 deep South it was very dangerous. I contend Elvis did more for integration than any other single force in the last century. Why? Because young, old, black, white, city and country dug Elvis. And when the masses start celebrating the underclass that is threatening to the powers in charge.

Yeah—Elvis did that. So maybe think of that before you make a disrespectful joke about a jumpsuit.

So what does this have to do with guilty pleasures?

Easy. Elvis made really shitty movies.

Even I can’t stand to watch them.

Except Roustabout. In it Elvis plays a guitar playing, motorcycle drivin’ carny….which is kind of what he always played. The plot involves him leaving a carnival to go with a big competitor only to comeback to save the first, win the girl and forgive her asshole father.

None of which is important.

What’s important and 100% cool fuckin’ Elvis is the closing scene when he takes the stage and sings “There’s A Brand New Day on the Horizon.” It’s a sugary song about everything going to be okay. And you know, when Elvis says so I believe him. When I feel I need a shot in the arm I play this song and it works.

It works because it’s Elvis. That’s all. No one else could make it work.

And you know what? Fuck it. I don’t feel guilty at all.

Tom Schreck
Tom Schreck is a dude with many interests and has written on topics as broad as boxing, business, pets, fitness, psychology, relationships, golf, diners, drive-ins and prison for publications that include The Business Review, Fightnews.com, Westchester Magazine, American Health and Fitness, Professional Counselor, Crimespree and Catfancy, among others.

Tom’s novels are based on his experience as a former director of an inner city drug clinic and a professional boxing judge. Officiating fights at Madison Square Garden and elsewhere, he appears on HBO, Showtime, and ESPN. Tom is also a passionate supporter of Basset hound rescue centers and has a number of four-legged critters living with him.

He graduated from The University of Notre Dame and has a master’s degree in Psychology. He lives in Albany, New York. For more Schreck, check out his blog, Twitter and Facebook.