Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Various Unremarkable Observations About A Major American City
So about two weeks ago I was in New York City for a little less than 24 hours. But I felt I got an authentic Big Apple experience because I managed to find a cabbie who, completely unprovoked, insisted on discussing prison rape, police surveillance and strippers (in that order) during a ride to the airport.

On the same note, my recently returned from week in Las Vegas didn't feel real until a cab driver asked me if I needed a hooker*. Pretty great moment in my personal travel history. Wish I had a slide of it to show the grandkids in 50 years.

Otherwise, my time in Sin City was intentionally uneventful. I'm sure it has been pointed out before, but the vast majority of people in casinos don't appear to be having any actual fun. Approximately 95% of those present look miserable and bored. It's entirely soul-crushing to watch.

In fact, is there any other form of entertainment that rivals casino gambling in this regard? Widely promoted as thrilling and enthusiastically pursued by millions, but actually only enjoyed by 17 people. I can't think of anything that compares. The Rolling Stones in concert maybe? Arena football?

Anyway. I was also seriously amazed at how much En Vogue gets played in casinos. This may or may not contribute to the general mood of unhappiness.

I eventually came to regard Vegas the same way I think of There's Something About Mary. I don't know if anyone remembers this, but when that movie came out a ridiculous amount of people decided that it was the funniest movie ever made. The sperm in Cameron Diaz's hair? Pure genius (apparently). The bit with the penis in the zipper? Brett Favre? Revolutionary.

Of course if you waited a few weeks, heard all of the talk and then went to see it... well you were somewhat disappointed. Funny? Sure. But not quite the Funniest Movie In The History Of American Cinema (this remains, indisputably, Slam Dunk Ernest).

Same with Vegas. Messed up, sure? But sorely lacking in, say, roving gangs of reverse-vampires. Or head-butting. Or monkey knife fights. All in all, not really that much more messed up than a New York cab ride.

*For the record, I did not take said cabbie up on his offer. In case you were wondering. To be perfectly honest, I have to think that if I was ever looking for a hooker, seeking assistance from a cabbie-slash-pimp would be perhaps the least advisable way to go about it. Just saying.

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