The Man from Wales (Viva Las Vegas)

Tue, Feb 19, 2002 12:41PM -0600

So this time last week I was squandering cash in a Vegas casino, hoping against all hope that my losing streak would run out. Alas, no dice.

I was too chickenshit to play at the tables this time around (given the fact that the last time I played, me and my brother lost in blackjack twice in a row, with a 20 both times against the dealer's 21) so I just slummed it at the nickel slots and the video poker. The nickel slots are misleading, considering that in order to win the jackpot, you have to flush down at least 45 coins, if not 90, making it more expensive to play than the $1 slots at max bet. I did manage to last a good hour-and-a-half at the video poker on nothing more than a buck, betting 5 coins each hand, but that royal flush proved ever elusive.

The only highlight of the trip was watching Tom Jones perform at the MGM. Now I suppose he's been something of a childhood idol, what with his massive sex appeal and his kickass voice. I admit it. I want to be Tom Jones.

The show was a lot of fun. Women my age were running up towards the stage and throwing their bras and panties at him, and even though he's around 60 years old, he's still got his groove.

I was very entertained by his various covers, including "Kiss" originally by Prince, "Never Tear Us Apart" originally by INXS, and "Venus" by Bananarama.

But for some reason, what struck me that evening was walking back from the MGM with parents past the Bellagio. The fountains turned on, and they played Elton John's "Your Song," and I remember being entranced and reflecting on the various twist and turns of life, and how in my life, Vegas has always somehow served as a staging ground, a prelude, for drama-to-come. God knows that's the last thing I need right now, but like a man ensorcelled by the Sirens, I am probably doomed.


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