Friday, April 9, 2010
Las Vegas - City Of The Damned Or Just Morally Maladjusted?
So, for this trip I had to visit Sin City itself, Las Vegas, and I say “had to” because I truly despise the city, and up until Wednesday I thought it was a city completely beyond salvation. I’m not saying that I want it to be hit by a one-kilometer meteorite and completely annihilated down to the subatomic particle level, but I sure wish they’d let up on the “sin city” theme a bit. It’s not the people that I hate, it’s the entire fact that there’s a place that almost every possible form of putrescence, debauchery, or vice can be found and abused. If you’ve never been, the first time on the “Vegas Strip” is like being hit in the face with a brick that’s been wrapped with dirty thong panties, used condoms, and gin-soaked olives. Now, I am not one to judge, nor have I ever held anyone else to my standard; if you want to head there to get drunk, high, and laid all in one fell swoop, go with God. That’s your bag, and more power to you. Me, I’m a family guy. I have a wife, kids, and some semblance of a “bushido” code that requires that I am faithful and humble in all my endeavors. I have two daughters, and the notion that women that have their images plastered all over the place in various states of undress makes me wonder what the hell their fathers think about their chosen career path. This place is simply too surreal for my simple mind to accept, and my synapses falter and recoil in horror at the sheer insanity of the place.
For example, where else on the planet can you drive for 20 minutes and during that time witness:
• A Rick James impersonator with a jacket proclaiming “I’m Rick James, Bitch”
• Mexican guys handing out cards bearing photos of naked chicks with phone numbers and dollar amounts to couples pushing strollers
• Mobile billboards mounted on trucks with larger-than-life photos of naked (but censored) lesbians making out
• News-stands on every corner with titles in huge fonts offering “Gay News” and “Hot Ass Chicks”
• And my personal favorites, huge replicas of the Eiffel tower and the Statue of Liberty
It’s simply fucking madness. It’s a collision of worlds spinning out of control leaving mayhem and madness dripping almost tangibly from the towering structures that define the skyline. All that being said, you can imagine that there’s a hell of a lot to do, and if you’re the kind of person who’d get bored in Vegas, chances are you’re that same guy who jerks off and has your hand fall asleep on you. It is the ultimate dichotomy; thousands of things to do, architecture unparalleled almost anywhere on the planet, yet an abhorrent culture of sex, drugs, and debauchery that embraces you as a brother, noting that whatever you do in their city of wonder is fair game and that nobody will snitch you out when you get home. It’s almost a secret society devoted to causing you to abandon all your morality, social beliefs, and to send you home with almost no recollection of what you did.
The residents of Vegas, though, appear to be good, honest folks just trying to make a living. That their sustenance is derived from people coming from all over to world to toss their money into the abyss of the casino bosses’ coffers says nothing of the fact that although the place is set with the sole intent of separating people’s money from their pockets, this does not preclude the inhabitants of this modern day Babylon from being good, honest people. I only realized this during this trip, where I left the “strip” to explore the surrounding area and check out the “real” Las Vegas.
We settled on getting some dinner at one of his favorite haunts, the Red Brick Pizza parlor, which is north of the Strip by a good 15 miles. This was the first time I had been off-strip, and it was an eye opener. The place looks like almost every Southern California city I’ve ever been to; palm trees, stucco, Latinos and graffiti abound. When you get outside the casino section, it might as well be Los Angeles. We ate at the pizza place, which was not only cheap, but excellent, and we headed back to the den of evil for some more conversation and a cocktail, ending the night on a good note with a Tanqueray Tonic and a firm handshake. As I sat in my overpriced and underwhelming room, I pondered the duality of what I had experienced; an area with all the possible depravity you can imagine surrounded by a city that is not unlike some of my favorite places. It was then that I decided more exploration would have to occur after work the following day.
The next day started with a meeting with my largest rep group, where I read them the riot act and noted that their performance “sat somewhere in between craptastic and fucking pathetic, leaning more toward the latter.” I, of course, ended on a positive note that they were good men that had simply lost their way and that I had faith that this meeting would begin our relationship anew, with a much better result than had previously been evidenced. I ended up spending a few more hours talking individually with some of the reps before my next meeting, sharing some tips on how to get new business, starting with the original sales idiom, “You’ll never get the business if they don’t know what you sell.”
Anyhow, I'll be back to writing reviews today and next week, as well as on Jury Duty for the Commonwealth. I've just gotten Prophecy, Runebound:Midnight, and I still have about 70 more games to review, so keep coming back for more!!!