Las Vegas has not been good to me. She’s an uncaring, self-absorbed mistress, yet I love her like no other.
She’s the beautiful, flamboyant girl who only uses you for your money while carrying on affairs with countless others. But just try and break up with her. It might take years, but eventually you’ll desperately miss her seductive charms and go crawling back. You’ll expect different results, which is the definition of insanity. (That and going to church with no pants because you heard God telling you to.)
I met and fell in love with Vegas in ’78. After slaving 10-hour days on a hot roof all summer, I boarded a big white bird with every penny I’d saved in my pocket. She plied me with free alcohol, cheap food and distracted me with all her sexy friends — then sent me packing eight days later. She didn’t even leave me enough to buy a beer on my flight home to calm my shaking hands.
I forgave quickly, blaming myself for being so needy and expecting too much. All I wanted was another chance, and as soon as possible. Besides, I knew what she was like when we met. People talk.
So a couple years later, when I’d saved enough to make her want me again, and eager to prove everyone wrong, I set out alone in a ’68 Comet during a November blizzard. The heater didn’t work and I repeatedly scraped ice from the inside of my windshield.
The radio did work, and Little River Dirt Band asked, “Have you heard about the lonesome loser, beaten by the queen of hearts every time? Have you heard about the lonesome loser; he’s a loser but he still keeps on trying.” Somewhere around Salt Lake, I screamed, “You’re wrong! You don’t even know the real Vegas — the part no one sees but me.”
Well, it didn’t work out so well again and I just barely had enough gas money to get home. Bob Seger sang what I shoulda told her: “You always won, every time I placed a bet. You’re still damn good; no one’s gotten to you yet … And you’re still the same, I caught up with you yesterday; moving game to game, no one’s getting in your way. Turning on the charm, long enough to get you by; you’re still the same … you still aim high.”
I thought it was over, but returned in ’89. This time it wasn’t so much to get rich, but was fresh off a breakup with my ex marrying another within days. I desperately prayed I might find happiness by escaping to a place that once offered me hope and excitement. Making it all the sadder, it was over Christmas.
It was for different reasons, but the same results. Again the Lonesome Loser lyrics taunted me: “Unlucky at love, at least that’s what they say; he lost his head and gambled his heart away. He still keeps searching though there’s nothing left; staked his heart and lost; now he has to pay the cost.”
Twenty-seven years later, and sure I’d never love again, my three nephews begged me to give her another chance weeks ago for the beginning of March Madness. The gas would be free with Jay driving and Lincoln Reese providing his timeshare condo just blocks off the strip. I balked, but all the memories of our great times together came flooding back.
Still, Rod Stewart’s lyrics danced in my brain: “When it comes to being lucky, I’m cursed; when it comes to loving me she’s the worst. But I still want you by my side, just to dry all the tears that I cried … And if you want, I’ll try to love again; Baby I’ll try to love again but I know: The first cut is the deepest …”
Not only hasn’t she changed, she’s gotten much worse. Things were going great until day No. 3. That’s when my daily memo book with all my vital reminders, roofing measurements and $310 worth of winning basketball tickets mysteriously vanished from my back pocket somewhere in the Lynx Casino.
This time I’m done. I don’t mind spending my money on her if it makes my mistress happy, but now her lovesick goons are also stealing my money? It finally hit me square in the face: “She’s lost that loving feeling; whoa-o that loving feeling. She’s lost that loving feeling — now it’s gone, gone, gone. And I can’t go on. Whoa-o-o-o, woe, woe!”
I’ve got nothing left. No trust, no money, no pride. I promise you, the odds are at least 5 to 1 against that breathtakingly sexy city ever seeing MY face again!