Viva Las Vegas

 Viva Las Vegas

By Sean McVeigh

“Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire. Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher.”

I was not present for the earthquake last week. I was in Las Vegas. With an earthquake rocking the tri-state area and an eclipse on the horizon, my trip started a little shaky after realizing I was in the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. Luckily, no fire and sulfur rained down on me while I was there and while I did see lots of slots, I did not see Lot’s wife.

For a place famous for its slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” people sure do know a lot about Las Vegas before ever having stepped foot in Nevada. And knowing what I knew, I was hesitant to make this trip. It just did not strike me as my cup of tea.

Shockingly, I found the case to be quite the opposite. I was very impressed by the city. The hotels are the definition of lavish and luxury. This is no surprise, of course. On top of all the people paying top dollar to stay and eat at these gambling meccas, they also receive daily “donations.” I know I paid my dues.

In my mind, Vegas was going to present two options: losing money at the casino or losing my mind in some sort of club. This was a quickly debunked mischaracterization — unless that is what you are looking for, of course. There is something for everyone on this little oasis in the desert. The band of merry men that I was traveling with had no trouble finding activities to pass the time.

Simply walking the strip was itself an experience. Sure, there are parts that give off Times Square vibes, but as a whole, the strip was, in its own way, stunning. There are more casinos than you can count, and hotels just get larger and larger, one after the other. New York is the capital of, well, capitalism. Those skyscrapers that we are so familiar with, stand as symbols of innovation and progress and American greatness in wealth and power. I think the Vegas strip stands for something very similar. Almost the result of what New York stands for. Vegas stands as a symbol of earned leisure and deserved opulence. I can hear the haters now. I know this place is called Sin City. It obviously has a dark side — how could it not with all those vices and all that money mixed together. But as an idea, it represents something bigger than itself and more uniquely American than a lot of other cities.

I, like most, left a loser. How many places can make you call yourself a loser and then have you turn around tell everyone else they don’t know what they’re missing? This place casts a spell on you — or maybe it’s just the oxygen they pump into the casinos. Many have tried to replicate what Vegas does, none have succeeded. So I say, Viva Las Vegas!

“I’m gonna keep on the run, I’m gonna have me some fun if it costs me my very last dime. If I wind up broke, oh well, I’ll always remember that I had a swinging time.”

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