Memphis is the Birthplace of Rock and Roll. I know this cuz everywhere in the city tells me so. Another thing I never knew until coming here; Elvis Presley lived here. Have you ever hear about this? It’s true. The most famous person to ever die on a toilet called Memphis home. Good thing I came here to learn this fact, which is posted on almost every nook-and-cranny within city limits.
Beale St. is like Mardi Gras—all year round! (I mean the worst sense of the word.) The experience is like tagging along with a really bad bachelorette party scored by blues music. Every large city has that one area where all the tourists must flock like lemmings, and Beale St is it, where drunken amateurs spill out into the streets with their multi-colored drinks and weekend warrior attitudes. With its musical history, somehow you’d think Beale St. would be cool, but it’s so not; it’s like Fisherman’s Wharf, if you gave everyone at Fisherman’s Wharf three Long Island Ice Tea.
Though there’s great blues music at places like B.B. Kings and Wet Willies, I try to find the restaurant with the worst music and atmosphere. It’s the Rum Boogie Café (182 Beale St.), where while dining you can enjoy the music of Pam & Terry; a husband and wife team on guitars who, every weekend, play much-too-loud classic rock hits such as Eagle’s covers (complete with witty husband-and-wife playful banter between songs). I get an outside table at Rum Boogie Cafe so while eating Memphis-style barbeque ribs, I can loath the sea of drunken humanity floating by, (it’s a much more horrible dining experience that way). The waitress sort of rolls her eyes when I request attention, making me feel as unwelcome as a fresh outbreak of stinging herpes.
A middle-aged woman, looking like the numerous puffy-haired Bible belt church ladies I encountered in Arkansas and Branson (I can spot the look), suddenly makes direct eye-contact from the street, extending her arm, reaching out towards me. Uh-oh! What’s going on here? Is she going to hand me some Bible/Jesus literature saying man and dinosaur walked on earth together a mere few thousand years ago? Is she going to literally grab Satan right out of me, shaking my body back-and-forth! Wrong on all accounts; she wants a napkin off my table. How odd! Ok, I’ll give church-lady a napkin. Wait. The look in her eye doesn’t say, “I want a napkin,” instead it says, “Help Me!’ The church lady suddenly starts puking into her cupped hand. Walking slow motion towards me like in the Mummy movies. She pukes again, this time trying to shove it back into her mouth (as if that will somehow make it ok). All the while, she keeps making direct eye-contact with I attempt to eat my Memphis-style rib dinner. The puking church lady starts grabbing napkins off my table. I’m too stunned to stop her. She pukes one last time directly in front of me (almost causing me to puke), continuing again to shove it back into her mouth. She then tries handing the vomit-filled napkins back to the jaded, unfriendly waitress (who, for some reason, is nicer to her than she was to me).
This whole scenario begs the question; is the puking lady an alcoholic and this is the moment she realizes she needs Jesus? Or has she lived a completely righteous, church-going life and has just been smitten down by Satan? All this occurs while classic rock hits are being performed inside the Rum Boogie Café by the husband and wife team called Pam & Terry. One thing is certain; my Memphis-style rib dinner is finished!