Got Back from Las Vegas yesterday afternoon. Three days in Vegas is quite enough for me. Someone once said that Vegas at night looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look. Wrong! I personally think it’s probable more like what hell must look like all the time, an enticing display of sinful pleasures, temptation overload.
Yeah, Vegas has often been called a modern day Babylon. Babylon, a city from ancient civilization was a powerful, affluent and immoral city, a hotbed of sin. It does sound an awful lot like Vegas doesn’t it? Where else can you go for gambling, drinking, prostitution and entertainment? What other American city has the countless number of billboards and electronic advertisements promoting the cities many vices? Come on, as we drove down the Vegas strip I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the flash, sparkle and brightness of it all.
On the streets, small throngs of people stand together passing out handbills advertising nudie bars, strip shows and every other kind of perversion and pleasure. Even taxi cabs and buses are adorned with a variety of ads for shows, casinos or gentlemen’s clubs. Then of course there are those giant ads on the sides of large flatbed vehicles offering “Live girls direct to your room in 20 minutes!” followed by a phone number. Yes the wages of sin are high in Las Vegas. If you recall Babylon eventually fell and vanished without a trace under the weight of her own depraved corruption. Might the same hold true for Vegas?
Now don’t get me wrong I enjoy visiting Vegas now and then as much as the next person, but you have to admit it certainly deserves its nickname of “Sin City.” We don’t go there to visit the under belly of ‘the city that never sleeps’, the dark side usually not seen by the regular tourist. We do occasionally glimpse that part of the city on ‘CSI Las Vegas’, or on the streets as we move about the city, but that is the extent of it. Most tourist are there for some R&R, lounging about, catching shows, food and maybe a little gambling, nothing more. But there is a percentage of tourist who are here for one purpose only, to partake in the wages of sin, and believe me, gambling is the least of those sins.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog I don’t gamble much. I don’t like giving up my money without a fight. I remember my dad always called Las Vegas “Lost Wages” Certainly a fitting name for the place. We go to relax and maybe pull a few handles and drink a few beers. Yes we could go anywhere to relax and drink, but we make the 240 mile trek because while we’re there we can catch a good show or entertainer that we most likely wouldn’t see elsewhere.
Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and through the years we’ve seen some great shows. On our visit for our last anniversary last year we went all out and saw, Love, Ka and The Jersey Boys. In March we went for a wedding and saw Donnie and Marie. In the past we’ve seen Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Penn & Teller, and many more. This time we saw only one show, but it was awesome, a group from Australia called Human Nature. Imagine if you will four Anglo Aussies singing Motown hits by the Temptations, Four Tops, Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Miracles, etc, complete with all the routines, the dance steps, hand and arm motions and suits. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but they were endorsed by Smokey Robinson so what the hell. They were incredible! If you like Motown I highly recommend them. You won’t regret it.
Funny, but the entire time I was there watching them I kept thinking about my buddy Brian, whom this site is dedicated to. He used to love to do the routines of the Temptations and Four Tops complete with the fancy footwork and arm motions. He wasn’t Mr. graceful, but together we would go through some of the routines particularly to “My Girl.” Great memory. He used to tell me that white boys could do the soul thing and do it well too! He was right! Human Nature is living prove of that. I wish Bri could have lived to see them. He would have loved it.
One last thing to share before we bid a fond farewell to Vegas. Sunday morning my wife and I went to church. (yes even in Vegas) It was a typical Catholic affair right up until Communion. Just before Communion Father made an announcement geared towards the out of town attendees, which I thought was a sad reflection on the city. He asked that if people were coming up to receive communion to please take their personal belongings with them because there had been a rash of thefts lately in some of the surrounding churches. Can you believe that? Stealing in church who would stoop so low? The more I thought about it I realized that this probably isn’t just a Vegas problem, but nationwide. With the state of our economy there are a lot of people hurting out there, even Catholics.
Okay then, so much for Vegas. It was fun, we all had a great time. I don’t think anyone came home too big a loser. In fact now that I think about it, the six of us came back winners, big winners! We hit the jackpot! Our friendship is the best payoff of all!
Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money. ~Jonathan Clements