*The following is an excerpt from the article I wrote for the latest (July/August 08) issue of HIS magazine. The article, in its entirety, can be seen by obtaining a copy at a local news stand or in many of the fine establishments that display HIS.
Of all the vacation spots there are in the world, the most enigmatic is Las Vegas. In some ways, “Lost Wages” represents all that’s wrong in America, the ultimate of a “something-for-nothing” mentality and a propensity for bad decision-making. It’s all too common to see a man with a cardboard sign on the street - the day after he blew the rent money on “23 red.” Someone once told me, “You see those magnificent structures? They didn’t build ‘em on winners.”
Although anyone can get into trouble, when professional athletes embark on the city to do some serious partying, all too often, bad news and, occasionally, tragedy follows. The combination of excess cash and irresponsible behavior is a surefire recipe for disaster. The most notorious case is of Adam (Don’t call me “Pacman”) Jones, a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The summary of the Jones’ story is: he went to a strip club, threw thousands of dollars at the dancers and a shooting ensued which caused devastating injuries. His explanation was he only went to the establishment to dine (which equates to saying the reason you went to a brothel was for the exercise). This only illustrates that not only can someone lose their money in Las Vegas, but their mind as well.
Yet, with Las Vegas being the major resort destination that it is, there must be positives - and there are - in abundance. It is the ultimate entertainment location as far as quality, quantity and diversity of attractions - anywhere in the world. When the name Las Vegas is mentioned, the first thought that comes to mind is gambling - all of which is legal.
Right after gambling, the shows are probably the greatest attraction. Folies Bergere, the best plays on Broadway, singers, dancers, comedians, animal acts and magic shows - all are advertised as breathtakingly spectacular and never disappoint.
If it’s food you live for (and there are many of us in that category), you can find both fine dining (if you can afford it) and inexpensive, all-you-can-eat specials (if you can’t). Should your love be golf, some of the most luxurious courses in the country can be found here. Also, as is the case with many families, while one member might favor the links, another is more inclined for some intense shopping. From the Forum Shops at Caeser’s to the outlet malls and every price range in between, Las Vegas is a shopper’s delight. If there weren’t all these attractions, why do you think so many conventions, events, rodeos and basketball tournaments (including the NBA All-Star Game) would be held in Las Vegas?
Most amazingly of all is what the Chamber of Commerce has done in promoting the city. In the early days, the mob allegedly ran it (but you didn’t hear that from me). Then, commercials about Las Vegas were advertised as a fun family experience, and roller coasters and mega-game rooms were built all over the Strip. Now, it’s “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” I think they’re trying to attract the same folks: it just depends on whether dad - or mom - go with the kids - or alone.
If you’re thinking about making the trip to “Sin City,” here’s some unsolicited advice. Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose and go for the right reasons, whatever right means to you. But remember:
“If you sell your soul to the devil, the devil owns it.”