I’m leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow. I feel sad for Hugh Elliott. He has never been to Vegas. He has never seen the glamour and he has never stretched his neck in awe to the sheer gaudiness of it all. Yes, even you, Hugh, would have to stretch your neck at it. It’s that big and that gaudy.
Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
Hunter S. Thompson (1939 – ), “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”I remember the first time I saw Las Vegas. I was ten and my mom woke me up. “We’re getting into Vegas, honey. Wake up and see it.” I couldn’t find my glasses in the motor home, so it was a blurry flurry of light. We stayed at the Circus Circus RV Park overnight. After taking us kids to the circus games, Mom, Carol and the rest of the adults went to the casino and stayed out late. I remember waking up Pat because I had botched up changing the baby’s diaper. She was suffering with a hangover, but her skilled hands wiped him up neatly. I learned that you had to lift them by the legs to wipe them up properly. Late that afternoon, we headed to California and Mickey Mouse.
Judged by the dollars spent, gambling is now more popular in America than baseball, the movies, and Disneyland combined.
Timothy L. O’Brien, Bad Bet (1998)
My next memory of Las Vegas was a tired splash of color on the way to Long Beach. We should have stopped there to sleep in the Legoland Castle that was the newly built Excalibur. I nearly fell asleep driving after the California border. We slept in Baker for a few hours before finishing the trip. Vegas could have become just a blur on the way to California in my memory, but fate intervened.
Noting his mother’s visit to Las Vegas the weekend before she died. “She got to go to heaven four days early.”
Then there was Comdex 1993. The Internet was still spelled with a lowercase “i” back then. I was intent on getting some of that Virtual Reality stuff (thanks, Sun Microsystems). We stayed in Jean, Nevada because we couldn’t afford the sky rocketed hotel rooms in Vegas. We met our friends there and they showed us the coolest booths at the convention. All of us envisioned a world of computers and none of us could have predicted Dot Com, much less Dot Bomb.
Many Comdexes and InterOps later, we are now going to Las Vegas for fun, not work. There is no computer show excuse to write off this trip. We will get a donut in the Legoland Castle. We will meet friends and dance the night away in the Glass Pyramid. We will get a cannoli at the Statue of Liberty and eat some stinky cheese underneath the Eiffel Tower.
Casinos and prostitutes have the same thing in common; they are both trying to screw you out of your money and send you home with a smile on you face.
Michael rues the day when he gets old. He is worried that when he recalls his Vegas trips to unsuspecting strangers that they will think he is senile. “On the first day, we went to Egypt and Medieval Europe. On the second day, we went to Paris and Venice. Watch our for the Pirates, they’re right across the street from Venice. The next day, we saw Simon and Garfunkel at the Green Lion.” Even knowing the true itinerary doesn’t make it sound more sane. Where else in the world can you see all that? It’s still a blurry flurry of light, but if you blink, you’ll miss it. No excuse, Hugh! Get your ass to Vegas!