Where is heaven? Is it Valhalla- an endless, brutal all-encompassing war? Or angelic boredom surrounded by cherubim and harps?
Or something more like what Harry McClintock theorized- On the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees / Where the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings / In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
I’ve always felt that happiness is where you find it, and good times are all around if you keep your eyes open. It’s all a matter of mindset and expectation. If you can take life as it comes, one step at a time, you’ll generally enjoy yourself. Of course, you’ll have a very different good time in Kearney, Nebraska as you will in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas has undergone a renaissance in the last 10 years, metamorphosing from “Sin City” to a family-friendly Disney-in-the-desert, and back to “What happens in Vegas”. Of course, we know the real truth of the town.
As Nicky Santoro once said, “What do you think we’re doing out here in the desert, anyway?” The answer? Money.
So, how does one go to Vegas and make it home with your life savings intact? There are three options. 1: Win. Improbable, but not impossible. 2: Know your limits. Have a set gambling budget, and stick to it. If you’re up, quit, and don’t throw good money after bad. And 3: Don’t play. My personal favorite.
How do I go to Las Vegas and not gamble? It’s a matter of foresight. I know that if I lay $200 down on the blackjack table and double it, I’ll be pleased. If I lose it, I’m mildly disappointed. For me, the real heartbreak will be hours later, when I’m staring at a new DuPont, or a 5-star menu, or a BBMF, and think “If I hadn’t lost those two bills at Flamingo, I could buy that.” Torture!
So what do you do if you don’t gamble? Relax! Relish your anonymity. Smoke and drink at Napoleon’s. People watch at the Paris Café. Walk up and down The Strip and see the construction. Or, just post up at your favorite Sports Book with a few friends and watch the ponies. Something’s always on.
My ideal trip includes dinner at Bouchon, sun at the pool, cigars and Caipirinhas at Casa Fuente, people watching at O’Shea’s and Fremont St., and kicking it with the High Rollers at the Wynn. But, to each his own. If you don’t belly up to the craps table, I can’t watch you lose.