Viva Las Vegas

I love Las Vegas, though admittedly I haven’t been there for a while for I was waiting for my life to get to a certain state before venturing back there again. Nonetheless, the planets seemed to align and I found myself in my favorite town once again.


It was a good chance to visit the city which is constantly in a state of change. Some of my favorite casinos were gone and even more magnificent monolithic architectural structures stood in their stead, while others were currently undergoing reconstruction. I try to make sure to spend time both on the strip and downtown on Freemont Street.

There is such a variety of culture and cuisine opportunities. Many geographical areas around the United States and the world are represented as well as their exquisite food which ranges from the basic foot-long hot dog and buffets to designer hamburgers and ornate French culinary artistry (and everything in between).

Always the fan of entertainment and celebration of the arts, I adore the wide variety of options ranging from street performers and nightclub acts to Broadway shows and the most extravagant venues imaginable.

If you have a hankering for sharing your talent or ideas wandering the streets of Las Vegas, you might like to know that there are no permits or licenses required by law to perform on the streets and it is one of the huge public venues where you truly have (nearly) unlimited freedom of expression.

Then there are the people. If you enjoy sampling the widest variety of individuals from all over the United States and the world, this is the place. Though it’s not as much a family-friendly environment as you might expect, the majority of the folks who come here are adults ranging from the newly-acquired adulthood to the senior citizen. Everyone is represented in the Las Vegas playground.

On this last trip, a young hip hop artist was giving away CD samples of his music in hopes that someone walking the strip might be able to “discover” his unique brand of talent. Passing by, I reached for the CD in his outstretched hand. He pulled it back and said, “Sorry, man. This is hip hop and you too old and too white for this shit.”

Interesting response, I thought. For all he knew, I could have been an A&R director for a big recording company. Nonetheless, a rude reminder that I am not the spring chicken I once was. Clearly I am older and plausibly paler, so he gets credit for observation of the obvious, and while I appreciate hip hop, I am not an enormous fan of it.

Later that night, a lovely young woman offered to spend some quality time with me, possibly including a sleepover. When I told her that I was holding out for my soul mate and wife, she offered to be both my soul mate and wife for the evening. I blushed, thanked her for the offer, and wished her good luck on her search for a partner tonight. It was a pleasant contrast to being too old and too white.

When you go to Vegas, don’t be surprised if you run into someone from your hometown, or find you are recognized by someone from your past. This happens to me almost every time I go to Las Vegas, a reminder that it is such a small world.

I so enjoy the hypnotic effect of all the neon, flashing lights, huge video displays and music playing on the streets (and that’s just outside), inside the casino hotels is another experience altogether.

And where else could you vacation, where thanks to the gaming, you could actually come back home with more money than you left with; and had so much fun doing it?

There is an implied level of confidentiality asserting, “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” but I don’t know, I saw a lot of cell phones documenting embarrassing events that were sure to be shared on YouTube.

I think the reason I am drawn to Vegas is because Las Vegas is a metaphor for me.

I am always growing and changing. There are all kinds of excitement happening inside me, and every type of emotional combination moves throughout my consciousness. The flashing neon synapses firing within dazzle the possibilities. I don’t mind dabbling in chance a little. I adore the arts and am deeply moved by articulate execution, ambitious performance or heartfelt prose.

This is my kind of town, because I am a little Vegas myself.

Deer Crossing

So, I’m headed to a meeting, driving down the road and up ahead I see a young deer standing by a deer crossing sign. I confirm, my headlights are on, and check the rearview mirror to see there are two cars behind me and one headed toward me in the other lane. I appear to make eye contact with the deer and I think to myself, “Don’t do it…”

What do you think happens next?

deer crossing

The deer leaps in front of my truck.

I stomp on the breaks, see and hear the impact from connecting with the deer as it vanishes from my view. Oncoming traffic and the two cars pass as I settle to the side of the road. I get out of the truck to survey the situation because the deer must be lodged under my truck.

As I get out and walk around the front of my vehicle I can see frantically flailing deer limbs stabbing the bank of the road. Overwhelmed, fearing the worst, I place my hand over my heart and think, “What do I do?”

Just then, one of the deer’s hooves grips enough traction in the side of the road to pull itself out from under the truck, apparently shaken and unharmed (though probably bruised) gains its balance, pauses (appearing to make eye contact again) then bounds off disappearing into the brush.

Checking out my vehicle while I make my way back to the driver’s seat, I conclude there was no damage to the truck from this interaction with the deer. I buckle my safety belt, put my hands on the wheel, close my eyes for a moment and thank God for His amazing blessings, then assess my surroundings, check the rearview mirror and resume my journey.

Life goes on…

Now, this wasn’t my first encounter with a deer; that was back when Sascha was in school basketball and I was three-hour-driving a minivan full of tweenage girls to their team’s basketball tournament. We were in the left lane. Three car-lengths ahead of us, in the right lane was a silver Lincoln. The girls looking out the windows spotted a deer alongside the right side of the road.

“Awe, look at the deer,” said Sascha, as the attentions of all the young basketball players focused on the deer, posing like an elegant diva for the girls to admire and fawn upon with coos, oohs, and ahs…

Bam! Without notice, the deer jumped in front of the Lincoln, hit, then bolted straight over the silver car, erratically tumbling through the air, flew awkwardly over the top of the van full of screaming girls and landing in the bushes on the opposite side of the road.

If you’re anything, like me, when you read the words, “What do you think happens next?” at that point in time and space, a dozen scenarios flashed through my mind, hoping the most likely option would be my nodding to the deer as I passed by.

At the, “Life goes on…” portion of my life jolt, as I continued to drive to my appointment, I imagined a hundred different ways this could have rolled out in real time…

Of all the things that could have happened, what had actually occurred would have been toward the top of my list of options, had I been able to choose.

Prone to metaphor, I ruminated over the whole affair to find meaning…

What do you think the meaning is?