And pondering why I love the TV show, ‘Nashville’ so much.
Many a time while stationed in San Diego, I would make a spur of the moment decision to drive the five hours to Vegas.
Occasionally with a buddy or two after closing down a bar somewhere downtown San Dog. Once or twice with a female accomplice, but usually alone.
“It’s OK. We (I) can sober up on the road. We’ll get to Vegas about sunrise.”
Would just show up, never having the wherewithal or forethought to reserve a room so I’d just nap in my Tornado if necessary.
But then, I never really slept while in Vegas anyhow. Why would I need a room?
One Saturday night after a not-too-lucky session at the craps table, I fell asleep in my car, which was always parked in the Union Plaza Parking Lot & Cow Pasture.
Well I woke up Sunday morning, (with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt) knowing full-well that I was due back in San Diego and on my “boat” before nightfall.
While attempting to drive out of the parking lot, the young uniformed schmuck informed me that I owed two dollars for the parking.
“Listen Asshole, I just dropped two grand in your casino last night.”
“Sorry Sir, but the parking is two dollars.”
“Let me say this one more time: I just ‘invested’ two large in your fucking casino.”
“Sir, I am just doing my job.”
“And me mine, for fuck’s sake. I’m protecting your way of life and your right to be an idiot.”
I then proceeded to drive through his little wooden gate, trailing splinters all over, never looking back except briefly to see the look on his face. (This behavior is not unprecedented in my past).
Got to San Diego with no gas, no cigs, no money, and no nada.
Had to ring up (collect) my girlfriend to meet me at a station and buy me some gas just to get to 32nd Street and back to my ship.
Ah! To be young, bullet-proof, and not worry about life’s consequences!
I love Las Vegas.
Was once almost thrown out of the El Cortez (Downtown Glitter Gulch) for card counting.
You see, I had read and studied Kenny Uston’s book
which I had purchased in a book store in Hong Kong. I spent many hours a day while at sea, practicing Uston’s card-counting methods. I also read Ed Thorp’s (The guy who “invented” or rather “discovered” card-counting)
Actually, I got rather proficient at it hence my early and unceremonious exit from El Cortez. I was too proud of my new-found skills and did not try to conceal my counting behavior. I would place one or two-dollar bets when the deck was ‘cold’ and fifty-dollar bets when the deck went ‘hot’: breaking the cardinal rule, of never ever be obviously stupid. Technically card counting is not illegal, but the casinos will still throw you out if they suspect you have that skill. And do not mistake: Black Jack is the only “game of skill” in Vegas, aside from poker, but who can afford that?
Slots? Oh Yeah. Once I was playing the “Big Quarter” ($25) machines at the Tropicana and won $5,000. (Proceeded to give it all back at the craps table, but not before I impressed the hell out of the management, betting black chips). They asked me “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m in the Navy.” They just shook their heads and asked me if I needed a girl. I said, “No. I just wanna roll a hard six; can you arrange that?”
Roulette? One time, after a particularly successful round of BJ, I was walking out of the Union Plaza (again), dropped a green ($25) chip on seventeen black: Bond, James Bond’s bet.
And WON! Took my winnings (approx. $800) and went to breakfast. Smartest, smoothest move I ever made in Vegas. Ah… those were the days My Friend; thought they’d never end….
Obviously I have some stories from Las Vegas.
Too bad I was born too late to experience “The Rat Pack.” Maybe if I accumulate enough good Karma, I can come back as Sammy Davis Jr. Or Frank Sinatra. Stranger things have happened, in the night, eh?
Dean Martin, caught in a Gravity Storm.
I guess that ‘bout sums it all up.
“Live it up, Y’all!”