Good decisions make for boring stories. Nowhere is this more evident than in the modern Walmart of human depravity:
Las Vegas, Nevada USA.
Partying in Vegas for five nights straight is a terrible idea. I came to this realization while standing motionless along the Vegas strip nine-years ago.
Frozen there on the sidewalk, in broad daylight, staring down at the freshly-birthed turd resting solemnly on my shoe as strangers whirled by me, it took me a moment to process what had happened. Yep, it was undeniable. The evidence was overwhelming. I had stepped off an escalator and shit myself.
I immediately began running through my options. Spotting a nearby casino entrance I started waddling toward it. Fearing detection I crept forward slowly at first, legs spread wide, trying not to rub my cheeks together, which proved to be a terrible idea.
I quickened my pace when snack-sized Snickers Bars began dropping conspicuously from my boxers. They dotted the sun soaked, bleach-white sidewalk like dollops of chocolate cookie dough waiting to be baked.
Halfway to the door I became keenly aware of the stench emanating from my sagging Banana Republic shorts. It was the smell of rotting, week-old animal carcass that’s been salvaged from a summer highway, pressed into homemade Hot Pockets and burned in the toaster oven.
My concern turned to full-blown panic as I entered the casino and spotted the bathroom, situated oh-so conveniently on the far side of an expansive, brightly carpeted room. Terrified of being spotted by a pit boss, I deftly made my way through the clamoring slot machines and slipped silently into the bathroom – only to find that ALL of the stalls were occupied.
My brain screamed FUUUUCK!!! so loud my ears considered dripping blood.
Minutes later, after scrubbing myself with the vigor of an amateur prostitute, I emerged from the bathroom and headed straight to the nearest roulette table, put all of my cash on black, figuring it was the color of the day, lost and walked back to my hotel to shower.
You may be wondering, why on earth would Morris share this story with me?
Fast forward to two nights ago. I was back in Vegas, sitting in a bar listening to a local explain why Vegas is so great. “Anything you want, it’s here,” he said.
An hour later I was at Vegas’ hottest night club, listening to one of the best DJ’s alive, standing amongst the world’s hottest women, watching the greatest Jersey Shore douchebags of our generation vie for their attention, as I casually sipped Budweiser from a stainless steel bottle and asked myself if he was right?
Surveying the crowd I found a lot to like, but it wasn’t enough.
More than snow-capped mountains, more than a true sense of community, more than exhilarating slow-motion landslides and shitty country-swing music, what Vegas lacks is authenticity.
Everyone there is looking to represent, rather than to present themselves for who they are. It’s as if they are all working tirelessly to create the perfect avatar in an effort to convince one another that they’re worthy.
In contrast, I believe in the power of authenticity. Sharing your faults can be scary, but it’s a great way to build trust – and allowing others to pull at the cracks of your imperfection is the only way you’ll ever build truly meaningful relationships.
But, let’s give credit where credit is due. While the residents of Sin City may not be gurus of introspection, they are a diverse community of hard-working posers who built an amazingly luxurious city forged from mobster urine and hedonistic escapism that I fully embrace, endorse and enjoy.
Judge it. Hate it. Vilify it if you want, but do so knowing that you’re already embracing Vegas in some way. Whether you watch reality television, read crappy magazines or play video games – that’s all Vegas baby. It’s escapism at its finest.
While we may choose to get on a plane or turn off the TV and return to our boring lives, rather than allowing ourselves to live lives dictated by our shallowest desires – we aren’t completely different from them.
Whether you realize it or not, we all shop at the Vegas Walmart of life from time to time – and without exception, we love every bit of useless, self-indulgent crap we load into our squeaky-wheeled shopping carts of superficial cravings and wanton misadventures.
If Vegas has one lesson to teach us, it’s that we’re only human after all.