When I lived as a missionary for the LDS church in Las Vegas (1995-1997), I was bound by the restrictions of my order to never set foot on The Strip. So I never did. I found out instead that there is a whole ‘nuther Las Vegas where normal people have normal lives, completely separate from the over-the-top tourist madness that everyone thinks of when you say “Las Vegas“. I came to feel some real affection for those regular people and their regular lives. I never really gave The Strip side of Vegas much thought while I was there. I had very little idea what it was like in fact.
I just came back from a week of living on The Strip. (We were there this last week visiting Liz’s family)
Here is what the Strip is like:
-Being mooned over and over and over. Kind of like the scene in Braveheart where the whole Scottish army exposes their Scottish bums to the English army.
-People literally walk into a casinos with the absolute intention of leaving the casino with less money than they went in with, and with nothing to show for it. And on the way, they pass homeless people asleep on bus stops.
-Its like an old people convention colliding with a 100 drunken bachelor parties.
-Like Britney Spears at age 60.
-Like the Emporer’s new clothes. (in more ways than one)
-Like if the Midwest if you took away the lawns and instead scattered naked lady playing cards on the sidewalks. (very literally- It is so nice to be back in the Midwest where I can just look at the litter with out seeing inartistic nudes. And there really is no grass.)
Now I hate to be so negative about things. I mean, I very much am in favor of having fun. Life’s no fun without it. But when I want to have fun, the strip is almost the last place I would want to go. (The heart of the sun, and 5'x1'x1' crate would be worse, marginally)
Think about it- In so many ways The Strip is the exact opposite of me. Does that make sense?
If it doesn’t let me know, I will explain it.
I had a touch of revelation while I was there, I think. I was thinking about how ironic to send ME to VEGAS on a mission. Then it came to me that one of my assets is just that: The Strip holds almost no temptations for me. It was a nice feeling. Sort of an : “Atta boy” from Father, and unexpected.
We took a some time to tour around some of my old stomping grounds- a lot has changed in 10+ years. My apartments have been torn down. A lot of my old ghettos look actually much less ghettoy- safer- more friendly- cleaner. A few things are still there- a truck stop me and Snave used to go to- Marsha’s trailer park- the chapel where a friend of mine was later murdered by a random drive by. But a decade changes alot. Sadly, I am not in touch with any one from Las Vegas any more, although I do stay maintain contact with a woman who I met under absolutely miracle circumstances- a great lady- who has since moved from Vegas. And there are several others who I would like to be in touch with but who I cannot find.
So its good to be home. And I miss the real Las Vegas a bit- by which I mean the people I knew back then. Maybe I will try to hunt a few of them down.
So what did I miss while I was gone?