Friday, March 09, 2007
Las Vegas Diary...and Diarrhea
As I mentioned below, I recently returned from a weekend bachelor party that was held in Vegas. Obviously, when you throw a bunch of old friends together with an endless supply of free alcohol and gambling, a great time is the result. A lot of funny shit happened while were there and I want to document it before I forget the majority of it. I doubt that many people will find this stuff as funny as it was at the time (I believe the phrase "you had to be there" is apt) or find it funny at all, but I don't really care. Now on with the recap.
I arrived in town on Thursday night. I got in later than the rest of the guys, due to me foolishly booking a flight to Vegas that wasn't direct to try and save some money. Of course the hundred bucks that I so smartly saved with my savvy booking didn't feel like so much money when my first leg flight got delayed and I missed my connecting flight to Vegas. I ended up arriving 5 hours later than planned, at about midnight local time and 3 a.m. internal clock time.
I was sharing a flight with my girlfriend and all her friends who were also going to Vegas on a separate trip for a bachelorette party. Just imagine how much fun it was being stranded in an airport in Minnesota for five hours with a group of girls giddy at the thought of clubbing at Pure and Tao and Blah and Poo. We broke up the monotony by getting frozen cosmopolitans at TGIFridays and trying to get everyone to switch off the NBA game so that we could watch the cliffhanger episode of "Grey's Anatomy." And of course by "we," I mean "they."
By the time we finally landed in Vegas, all the shuttles were done running and there was a 45 minute line for cabs, so I ended up springing for a limo to take me and the girls to our respective hotels. I wasn't planning on paying for the limo all by myself, but after hearing a group of girls try to divide $55 by 6 and then factor in a tip, I realized that it was small price to pay to keep my head from exploding and my fist from going through the tinted window.
By the time the limo pulled up to the hotel I was staying at, I was pretty tired and contemplated going to bed just to put an end to the crappy day I had. The trouble that came with getting to Vegas really put a damper on my mood and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to muster up any enthusiasm for the rest of the weekend. All those fears disappeared once I walked in to the gaming floor at the hotel I was staying at and saw all that it had to offer.
The hotel was the Imperial Palace and it has the charm of a racetrack mixed in with Asian decor. It really is a shithole. But its one saving grace is the type of employees they have working some of their gaming tables, and it is because of those employees that I knew I was going to have a great weekend. The employees I'm referring to are called "Dealertainers." They are celebrity impersonators who deal blackjack and run the computerized roulette game. Periodically they perform on a small stage and lip sync to the songs of their look-a-like. (On the right is an impersonator of Stevie Wonder, as in "I wonder how a blind person is able to deal blackjack.") It is as lame as it sounds, but inexplicably popular. Apparently people get a kick out of losing all of their grocery money to a guy who kind of looks like Bruce Springsteen.
Of course I found all of this fascinating and loved how pathetic and weird the whole thing was and tried to work the topic of Dealertainers into as many conversations as possible. I would also bring them up whenever there was a lull in the conversation at the tables. Some of topics that were broached:
- We tried to gauge how much resentment and jealousy the "regular" or non-entertaining dealers have towards the highly skilled and talented Dealertainers.
- Whether or not the assumed higher pay rate for being a Dealertainer is worth the embarrassment of telling your parents that you lip sync to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" while hitting on soft 17's for a living.
- After trying to figure out if the Shania Twain impersonator was black or white, our table came to the conclusion that it would be much more dealertaining if the Dealertainers were the opposite race of the celebrity they were impersonating. I know I'd be more impressed if I saw a white dude who was a dead ringer for Sammy Davis Jr or a black guy who looked like Elton John and knew all the words to "Levon".
Over the course of the next two days, all of us followed the standard Vegas itinerary; trying to lose as little as possible while drinking as much free booze as possible, gorging ourselves at the best buffets in town, and refusing to accept the porno cards that get handed out on the streets. Throughout the two days there were quite a few moments of intentional and unintentional comedy:
- While playing blackjack at the Flamingo a pit boss entered the pit to begin his shift. He was in his mid forties or fifties and was rocking the Elvis look pretty hard. It was pretty obvious that he enjoyed the attention it garnered. A few minutes after he arrived and while he was out of earshot, I went in for the kill and addressed the dealer. "Excuse me, but I can't help noticing your pit boss's appearance. Has anyone ever told him he looks just like...an asshole?" They say casino dealers have heard every line you can throw at 'em and what may seem original and witty is probably tired and played out. And that very well may be the case, but based on the way this dealer erupted in laughter and the way the middle-aged lady next to me spit her drink back into her glass, I think I may have found one that had never been used or at least not too often. Needless to say I was proud. And a little scared that the pit boss might have possibly overheard my brilliant bon mot.
- While we were finishing up lunch at Hooters, our waitress came up to our table for the requisite flirting/tip grubbing/ego stroking. She was barking up the wrong tree. The allure of Hooters, if there was ever one to begin with, had long been lost and eating there was more of a nod to tradition then an attempt to get lucky with the waitstaff. The waitress started off with the general small talk and quickly realized she wasn't getting anywhere. She then pulled out her trump card. "I'm bored, you guys," she exclaimed, just waiting for us to take the bait and hit on her. A few seconds of awkward silence passed. "I guess you can go get me another Coke if you want," my buddy Nick offered. That suggestion was not what the waitress expected to hear. "What!? I can't believe..." The rest of her sentence was lost amid our hyena-like laughter. Sensing defeat, the waitress gave up on us, brought Nick back another Coke and informed him that he was a dick. Someone should've told her that people can get wings anywhere, but they come to Hooters for the attitude and the atmosphere.
- After lunch we stuck around the Hooters casino and started gambling there. None of us were winning and the whole casino was just one big sausage fest (shocker, I know) and it was putting a lot of us in a bad mood. It didn't help matters that the staff were Nazis about checking our ID's and weren't very personable while doing so. The pit boss checked them, then the dealer checked them, then the cocktail waitresses. If someone left the table for a minute to take a piss or something, they would get carded again once they came back. It was a bit extreme, but whatever. After awhile, KL, Gangbang, and I were ready to leave and go to another casino. We found the rest of the guys playing pai-gow so we decided we'd finish our beers and watch them play a bit longer and head out. While we watching, the dealer stops the game and asks for KL's ID yet again. KL questions why she needs to see it since she's already seen it once, the waitress ID-ed him when he ordered the beer, and that he isn't even gambling at her table. The dealer yells back that it doesn't matter and that she still needs to see it so she can continue dealing. KL tells her to wait a second, pounds the rest of his beer, reaches into his pocket to get his wallet and pulls out his hand to reveal a gigantic middle finger, flipping the dealer off. "There's my ID, babe." Was it rude? Yes, yes it was. Was it uncalled for? Probably. Was it funny? Oh my, was it ever.
- Late Saturday night we took a cab from the Hard Rock to our hotel, and we nearly died. The driver was assing around corners, slamming on his brakes at the last possible second, swerving recklessly. It was scary. Once we got to our hotel, my buddy Willis, who was sitting shotgun, let the driver know just how bad of a ride it was and how dangerous he had driven. But the cabbie would have none of it and interrupts, "Listen asshole, you better be careful, man. I got a camera in here so you are being watched. So..." As he says this he points to a small camera on the rear view mirror. Willis sees his opportunity. He sticks his face right into the camera and yells into it while pointing at the cab driver. "This guy sucks the biggest dick ever!" Like he was being broadcast live or something on TRL. I thought the cabbie was going to murder us all. As I struggled to unlock my door to get the hell out of there, I saw Willis throw the fare at the cabbie face. Once I saw that, I relaxed a bit, because I was pretty certain that if the cabbie was going to kill any of us, it was definitely going to be Willis.
I think it was while waiting in line to enter the restaurant that I realized just how drunk I was. The three hours of sleep I'd gotten that morning had done nothing to sober me up, in fact, it seemed like all it had done was to get the ball rolling on my impending hangover. At that point I knew I was done drinking, and was hoping that I'd be able to handle the effects of the obscene punishment I'd put my body through over the last few days. I had a feeling my body had had enough and was ready to dole out some retribution.
I managed to eat a decent amount from the buffet, despite my worsening condition. I didn't eat enough to cover the twenty bucks it cost to get into the place but I didn't care. I was just happy that I was able to keep a meal down. I felt like I had made it through the woods. It would be all downhill from here; the food would soak up some of the alcohol, I'd just keep drinking water while the rest of the group was going back to the buffet for thirds, and I'd sober up in time for the plane ride where I would be able to sleep the whole way home. I was a genius with a masterplan.
It was few minutes later when I felt a gurgling in my stomach that seemed to tell me I had about two minutes to get to a bathroom before I would become the funniest thing the hundred people in the buffet had ever seen. ("I was at the buffet in the Mirage one time and I saw this dude shit his pants in public. It was great...") I hurried off to the bathroom and found myself an empty stall. And I started to do my business. Right from the get go, I knew I was going to be awhile. Who would've known that drinking 40 beers in a two day period would give a man diarrhea? I'll spare you most of the details, but I will say it was messy. You know how a garden hose sprays when you put your thumb over half the opening? Yeah, that kind of messy.
I figured I deserved this fate, and all things considered, it wasn't that bad. Just some di-di. "No big whoop," I thought. Jesus Christ, was I wrong. All of a sudden, my breakfast burrito wasn't sitting too well and I was hit with sweat. You know, the sweat a man gets when he realizes he's about to throw up. Only I was sweating more profusely than that. I had the sweat a man gets when realizes he's about to throw up while also suffering from diarrhea in a public bathroom 2000 miles from his home.
I went into survivor mode. I quickly assessed the logistics to see what I might be capable of pulling off. Would puking and shitting at the same time even be feasible? I'd heard about that kind of thing before but it involved a Thai hooker and a lot of money. And I mean a lot. I was worried that if I started throwing up I'd lose sphincter control and I'd shit all over the place, because I've heard about that kind of thing happening before too. And that's no joke. So I scooched as far back on the toilet as I could to see if I'd be able to aim my vomit over my junk and between my legs. The view left a lot to be desired. It wasn't looking too good. I was stuck.
Suddenly it dawned on me that I could go back into the casino and grab one of those plastic coin buckets for slot machines and bring it back into the bathroom and puke in that while resuming my business on the toilet. It was my only hope. So I quickly cleaned up, summoned all of my inner strength and willed myself to "hold it" while I race-walked back onto the casino floor to grab one of the hundreds of coin buckets lying on top of all the slot machines.
Only there weren't hundreds of buckets. There weren't any. I had forgotten that the casino had gone to a paper ticket redemption system within the last few years and the buckets were long gone. At that point I understood just what the old timers mean when they complain about how the "new" Vegas is missing a lot of the charm and nice touches that made "old" Vegas such a great place. Back then the dealers used to know your name, the waitresses knew what you drank, and there used to be an abundance of free buckets to barf in.
All out of options and nearly out of time, I ran back into the bathroom and found a different empty stall. (I'm no dummy.) With the bile and vomit rising I knew I just had to take the risk and hope I wouldn't shit in my pants while I threw up. So I put my fate in God's hands and let the nausea sweep over me. "And here come the pretzels," I muttered to myself, proud that I remembered to use my throwing up catchphrase* even during my bleakest hour. And boy did those pretzels come. It was violent and messy. You know how a garden hose sprays when you put your thumb over it?
Anyway, I recovered. I didn't shit my pants, thank you very much, and I managed to avoid any other incidents for the rest of the trip. Though actually, while I was recovering from the previous episode and sitting at the electronic roulette table at the IP, I did threaten to puke on the face of the dealertainer impersonating Charro if she didn't stop saying "cuchi-cuchi" to me and asking what was wrong. I can't be blamed for that, because let's be honest; she deserved it.
*Back in college I got super drunk on my birthday and at the end of the night I was a mess. From what people tell me, I could barely talk, could barely walk, and was pretty incoherent. My friends were worried that I might need to go to the hospital, but I told them I'd be find as long as I threw up. They dragged me over to the toilet and propped my head on the bowl. I lifted my head looked at my group of friends and in my best Vin Scully voice said, "And here come the pretzels,' and began throwing up. Click here to see the Simpsons episode I got it from. It's at the very end of the clip. And that is how a throwing up catchphrase is born.
I did the three hours sleep, breakfast buffet and hurling on my October trip.
I was with my wife though. The story isn't as funny then.
I was with my wife though. The story isn't as funny then.
I feel happiness to read the content that you are posting.gambling addictionPost a Comment