Las Vegas, NV
New Orleans. Amsterdam. Las Vegas.
Those are my top three party places on the planet. There used to be a time when I hopped on a plane and flew out to the Nevada desert to party my ass off. Gambling was secondary to having a good time. I drank. I smoked. I snorted.
Then there was a time when I went to Las Vegas primarily to gamble, and having a good time became secondary. Parlays. Double Downs. Check-raising all in.
And when I lost, I was miserable and having a good time was non-existent. Depression is the root of all misery. Sinking to the lowest depths of despair in Sin City is utter torture.
When I realized there was a bigger payday involved in working in and around Las Vegas, I found myself hopping on flights from JFK airport or driving through bat country from Los Angeles. Instead of tossing around money in the pits, I found myself holed up in hotel rooms or short-term rentals pecking away at the keyboard, and avoiding temptation at every turn. Sometimes I faded the demons. Other days I got sucked right into the fracas.
After spending more time on the sidelines watching people gamble rather than actively participating in the degenerate act of gambling, I noticed a few things. Horrible things. I stumbled upon the dark side of humanity that was glossed over by clever marketing ploys, flickering neon, and all-you-can-eat buffets.
A couple of years ago, I lost the enthusiasm for Las Vegas... the soused circus, a bloated mirage, a scintillating cesspool, and a surrogate prison where ephemeral dreams go unfilled.
I used to bubble over with excitement weeks and days before a trip to Las Vegas. After a while, I dreaded my time here and couldn't wait to get out. I knew something was quite unordinary when I actually preferred the shallowness of Hollywood to the coruscate multi-colored lights of Las Vegas.
This year, I vowed to rekindle the fire and excitement that I once had. In short, I wanted to have fun. I missed running rampant down the Strip and trying to outrun the gambling ghosts. I missed playing cards for the sure joy of the game. I missed looking out into the darkness of the Valley from my hotel room and thinking about all the financial possibilities. After a while, all I could see was the plight and the darkness of the void.
I'm still not quite there yet. I dunno if I'll ever be. But for the first time in a while, I caught a glimpse of what having fun in Vegas it used to be like. And you know what? There are very few things in life that are greater than being on top of the world while living it up Las Vegas. It has nothing to do with how much money you won or how many chicks you banged or how many souvenir cups of Margaritas that you downed. Rather, it has everything to do with your mindset. That's the trick and the key to not getting slaughtered by the gambling gods, demons, and ghosts. Positive mental attitude. It goes a long way out here and the minute that you slip, you get flushed right down the toilet.