Monday, April 19, 2004

Viva Las Vegas!

A four-day trip to Vegas really hits the spot. I love the thrill of seeing the city lights, the showgirls, and folks tossing black chips on the blackjack table. I always eat like a king there, too. We even took in the Blue Man Group at the Luxor and a typical Vegas variety show at Tropicana.

Four days is plenty, though. I used to daydream occasionally about going to Vegas to try my hand as a pro. I was very taken by my perception of Vegas as an amazing city, viscerally and intellectually. The city as adult playground is obvious, but intellectually, Vegas is very satisfying as an object lesson in cause and effect. People plop down sums of money they shouldn't, usually with predictable results. Some folks bet the house, and lose. Nobody feels particularly sorry for the schmuck who takes $1,000 and turns it into $75,000 within an hour, only to give it all back in the next hour- which is as it should be. Everybody seems more keenly aware in Vegas that there are risks in life, and sometimes there are winners, and just as often, there are losers, and better than that, everybody there is pretty okay with the proposition. If only the attitude was more pervasive throughout the country!

Of course, I'm not a hedonist or even much of a sensualist, so Vegas wears on me after about four days. Moreover, Vegas is not honestly a genuine freedom haven. There are plenty of the same prohibitions in effect there as there are here in Indiana, and even if the prohibitions weren't in place, I would actually indulge in no more than I do now. I like to play blackjack, and the occasional video poker, and not much else. The idea of the Chicken Ranch is thoroughly repulsive to me, and I am amazed that it even survives.

So, this little trip will probably tide me over for a few years. I like knowing that there is a place like Vegas, and at the same time, I like knowing that there is only one place like it.

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