Nothing fucks with your head more than walking through Las Vegas at 5am.
The long faces, the worry, the fear, the toil of a long night spent living in Sin City with the hopes of that good roll, that last pull, the last hit, the one that made it.
Sure, you heard people cheering earlier, they were the lucky ones. They picked the right machine, the right table, and got hot. Now they have hookers and blow in the penthouse suite. Now they can make their mortgage this month, now they can qualify for another card game, they can smile for another day, they can breathe easy.
Until they have to go back and do it again tonight.
The visible frustration of watching someone else win as you are losing your ass is palpable.
The desperation, the despair as each pull, each click, each button press drains your total. The chance of hitting it big, in the casino or even in life, keeps us putting the bills in the changers.
What we don’t realize? The ease that we see of hitting it big isn’t easy, it’s kneecapping us in so many ways. We are exerting minimal effort for a overwhelming return. When we hit it big, then we’ll fix everything. Because we got lucky.
But is it really luck if you just wasted your time?
Is the payoff really worth the lack of effort?
Will hitting it big really change you, or are you just going to not cash out and keep pumping bills for a BIGGER return?
Or is it all a pariah? Is it an oasis that you see but vanishes after you trudge through miles of heat and sand? Or was it the time you spent getting there that you wasted, only to come up empty handed, bitter and disappointed?
The presence of virtue in Sin City is negligible. And the people who accept the natural motives of “letting go” in Vegas are too numerous to mention. The problem is that too many times, too many people have too little self control.
And seeing the faces all over this city that never shuts down was enough to show me that self control, principles, and beliefs are left on the tarmac getting off the plane in the desert.
“Why can’t you just enjoy yourself? Let go, let your hair down.” It’s fine. Do that. The problem lies in all of the issues that arise when folks turn off their common sense and turn on their consequence free thoughts, with just living and having fun in the forefront and serious consequences that come up after.
I’ve never heard anyone who lost in Vegas say they wish they could do that again. What I have heard is that people say Vegas is a blast if you play responsibly, that is, think with your big head versus the little one.
How many people put their head in their hands when they’ve been let off the leash only to make horrible mistakes that cost them in time and life?
You have to maintain control. Too many times, peer pressure puts guys to do things they shouldn’t or wouldn’t, but because of “YOLO”, they do it and fuck up things.
You needn’t believe a pariah that everyone else follows.
“Why did you go to Vegas if it wasn’t to drink, gamble and fuck?”
Because I’m not these people. The old me would’ve. Shit, the old me would’ve blown my savings on hookers, games, and drinks.
But the old me was also a stupid fuck.
The minute I started prioritizing myself in my life was the minute I understood that my time was valuable. The minute I started caring about the man I was becoming was the minute I understood that my actions have consequences. Was I going to drink, act like a drunk ass, snort lines, blow hard earned money that could be used to enrich my life, instead of pissing it away for mere minutes of imagined pleasure?
Not trying to be a buzzkill. I’ve been there. I’ve blown a shit ton of money trying to woo girls, drinking, and generally making an ass of myself.
The bottom line: I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.
I didn’t like the man my kids saw.
But most of all, I realized that what everyone was telling me I was supposed to do was not what I wanted. If you want to be you, you gotta go against what everyone expects of you.
“Why can’t you have fun in Vegas?”
My new idea of fun is self improvement, empowerment, and helping others while I help myself. This isn’t some noble trad-con LARP, this is real life perspective shifts that take into account how I’m coming off to myself and others. How am I progressing to make myself a better person, better father, better man?
How can I try to prevent another dude from blasting a bullet in his mouth if I’m out here getting shitfaced, plowing the strip, or dropping my retirement on the impossibly small chance I actually get more?
Why roll the dice on a pipe dream when I can develop myself physically, mentally, hell, even spiritually if I fucking want and up the odds I’m going to take life by the tits?
This isn’t a fucking moral crusade to save mankind. We may already be fucked. This is an opportunity to leave a legacy to the people in my life that I love most, my kids. This is an opportunity to save the lives of men who only see the spend in Vegas, the long shot wins, the dreams come true and say, “I’ll do it that was instead of doing the work.”
Your savior isn’t digging a deeper hole hoping it rains manure at some point.
The False Flag
Why did this tweet cause so much vitriol?
What’s wrong with being free to make this choice?
Because it goes against everything that everyone says you should do.
It rides against the grain.
It pushes back against what people think.
And it challenges people’s perceptions on what you should do when you are in a particular situation.
There are people that let their environments and circumstances chart their self determination, then there are people who refuse to let outside forces deter them from being the best person they can be.
I went to Vegas knowing I wasn’t going to partake in the fun, because I had already done that. I spent a better part of my post divorce years fucking anything that moved, drinking, and generally living what everyone said to “live a little”.
But as with myself and millions of others like me, I couldn’t control myself. We are a society of excess, we are encouraged to burn the candle at both ends.
Work hard, play hard. What about work hard, play hard, learn hard, and better yourself harder?
This isn’t a religious thing. This is a personal choice to partake in things that will make me better, not drain my bank account, dick, and energy.
I choose this because it’s best for me. I choose this because I’m trying to control my rise and don’t want anything putting me back after all I’ve been through.
Dave Ramsey has a iconic saying: “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.”
I have taken this strategy to heart, keeping my eye on the prize even if everyone is telling me to stop.
Drinking water at the bar even if everyone is drinking around me.
Passing by the hookers while other dudes fork over their cash for them.
Walking past the slot machines that I know will take my money.
Eating a piece of grilled chicken instead of that Twinkie.
All in the knowledge that if I keep pushing towards my goals, I will get there and then keep going for more.
Life is the pursuit of something that you will never get. But the pursuit is what you want. It’s what makes life worth living.
2 thoughts on “Pariah”
It took me years to get out to Vegas. Spent little money. Outside of minor sightseeing, it wasnt that thrilling. I dont get the dopamine response from gambling like other men do. Yeah, I enjoy some horseracing but I quit while I was ahead.
Clubbing would have been neat 15 years ago. Whores? I would rather find some semblance of peace. You cant pay someone to give a shit unless they are a psychologist/therapist/etc. Then they are beat like a whore at the end of the day.
Last time I was in Vegas (3 yrs ago?) I noticed several things
1: It’s VERY loud and bright/flashy. I’d stopped at an open air bar for a cigar & scotch and what should have been a groovy experience (it was nice and warm that night) was ruined by all of the flashing boards/TVs and loud music/noise blasting from every corner.
2: There’s no real joy there, just the momentary hit of dopamine, as you mentioned. It’s really a depressing place.
3: If you’re not into #2, Vegas isn’t that interesting as a tourist. I don’t care to see Penn & Teller (again) or the Blue Man Group (again).
I’ve given up on going to Vegas. There’s no reason for me to go there anymore. Like you said, I’d rather be doing something productive…or just riding my motorcycle around the mountains here in San Diego.