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Reunion. Vegas. 1998.
Quick warning to the easily offended. I swear
a lot in this article, and I (gasp!) mention strippers.
In the summer of 1998, there was a reunion for
my high school in Las Vegas. I didn't really want to go, but The
Almighty Patrick talked me into it, and even paid for the tickets
(as a birthday gift). Since these events took place almost four
years ago, I'm kind of hazy as to the exact order they took place
- So I'm going to do each section by topic, not exactly in
chronological order. It's not like anything I write is very
structured, anyway. Here are a few highlights from the trip:
GETTING THERE, DRINKING, AND
As soon as I got off the plane, I was approached
by three severely drunken individuals, all of them hopping around
and screaming, "Look at the hippie!", and "Go back
to Georgia, you long-haired freak!" It turns out that these
were my high school buddies, Patrick, Josh, and Aaron. They
decided to get blitzed out of their skulls before picking me up
from the airport. Patrick, in his inebriated state, could only
answer my questions with the witty response, "If it was up yo
ass, you'd know!"
Me: Where'd they put my luggage?
Patrick: If it was up yo ass, you'd know!
(Punches Josh in the face)
Me: Dude, what the hell have you guys been drinking?
Patrick: If it was up yo ass, you'd know!
(Tries to get a piggyback ride from Aaron)
The MGM Grand. Whatever you do, don't order beer
through room service.
Once we got back to the hotel (MGM Grand - Aaron
got us the room), Josh proceeded to pour drinks. He filled my
glass with Jack Daniel's and added a tiny splash of Coke - I don't
really drink, by the way. Patrick yelled at Josh, "What are
you trying to do? Kill him? He's not an alcoholic like you."
When we went downstairs later and ordered
drinks, the bartender checked everybody's ID's suspiciously. Of
course, we're all over the legal drinking age, but I can look
about 18 if I shave. The guys hissed at me "He didn't card us
until you showed up, Mike! Man, you suck."
Then they gave me these murderous looks...
I think the first day was pretty much spent
drinking and shooting the shit. I don't think any of us did that
much gambling. Personally, I only hit the slot machines about
three times, and that's because some of the casinos give you free
spins so you can get addicted to gambling and give them the money
you were going to spend on an operation, or your child's college
money, and you end up losing everything, and then you have to go
to support groups, and everybody sits around in a circle and
bitches about gambling, when they should've just said no to that
free ticket. (DEEP BREATH)
Oh, somewhere between here and there, Tosh and
Crystal showed up. I quit smoking in 1995, but I started bumming
cigarettes from them as soon as they arrived, because they are BAD
Patrick, Crystal, Tosh, and Josh
Okay, so now I'm drinking AND smoking. Great.
VEGAS WAS NOT WHAT I THOUGHT
IT WAS - AND WHERE THE HELL IS ELVIS?
It wasn't as hot as I thought it would be, for
one thing. In the middle of July, it was bearable.
I'd watched too many movies and TV shows, so I
assumed that Vegas was just this one long, heavily lit street with
hookers on one side, and Elvis impersonators on the other. I don't
recall seeing any Elvis impersonators or hookers during my visit
to Vegas, and I am still disappointed to this day. In fact,
all I saw were old people - Senior Citizens in all sizes, as far
as the eye could see.
(Note: Actually, I saw one Elvis
impersonator, but he was an asshole. We were at this steakhouse,
where there was a country band. The singer guy thought it'd be
funny to put on an Elvis wig and glasses and act like a fool.
Blasphemy! Show respect for the King! I would've heckled the
bastard, but my steak was causing me severe gastrointestinal
distress, and I didn't want to call attention to myself.)
PAT'S BUNGEE JUMP
For most of my time in Vegas, I was teased about
my fear of heights, mostly by Josh. "Ha ha, Mike's a
height-pussy! Mike had a traumatic childhood!" Almost
everything in Vegas was tall - The Stratosphere was damn
tall, and there was also this little roller coaster built into the
side of a hotel that I refused to go on. (Stephanie was like,
"Here, then, hold my purse".)
Patrick wanted to go bungee-jumping, and
everybody agreed to bungee-jump also, mostly just to make me look
like a coward.
Pat, Josh, and Aaron on top of the Stratosphere
Once we got to the Magical Bungee Jumping Place,
everybody lost their courage instantly. "Pat," Tosh
whispered fearfully, "That's pretty fucking high..."
Patrick was the only one of us who had the balls
to jump. This is back when he was still in the army, so he was all
gung-ho and shit, screaming "SUUUURRRRGE!", or whatever
those extreme sports guys do. You know, Powerade drinking,
weight-lifting, screaming hardcore dudes with tattoos.
I'm estimating the tower was about ten stories
high, over a pool. Tosh followed Pat up to the top of the tower to
get a photograph (And some video, too, I think). Josh, Crystal,
and myself watched from below. They strapped up Pat's leg into
some kind of harness, and let him fall. As Pat fell, and then
bounced, he said, and I quote, "OH SHIT!", then
After bouncing around for a while, they pulled
him back up -- bleeding. Seems a piece of the cord whipped
him in the face as he bounced. I couldn't find a picture, so
here's a computer-generated wire frame image of Pat's jump.
Computer simulations have suggested that bungee-jumping may be dangerous.
STRIPPERS MAKE A LOT OF MONEY
I'm sorry, but one of my favorite parts of the
trip was my first visit to a strip club. I was AMAZED by all the
women there. Let me explain. I live in a little hick town in
Georgia, where beautiful young women are VERY rare, and beautiful
NAKED women are even more so. I was like a kid in a candy store -
full of strippers.
By nature, I'm very shy, but I had no problem
chatting up the girls at the club.
Mike: (In a mildly drunken slur): THIS PLACE
IS AWESOME!!! I'VE NEVER SEEN SO MANY WOMEN IN ONE PLACE! WHERE I
LIVE, THERE ARE NO BEAUTIFUL WOMEN...
Stripper: So what do you do?
Mike: (Shrugs his shoulders and mimes a
masturbatory motion with right arm).
When I drink, I also tend to get affectionate,
so I was bear-hugging these strange girls I just met, crying,
"Thank you! You made my night! Um, come back to Georgia with
-Let's move on before I embarrass myself...
PENN AND TELLER
We saw a taping of Penn & Teller's Sin City
Spectacular. Tickets were free. Steven Seagal was there (to play
guitar and sing!!). If you ever saw this episode on FX back when
it originally aired, you might be able to hear my sorry ass scream
"STEVE!!" like a drunken jock when he came on
stage. Steve and his band played some simple blues song. I forget
the title, or any of the words. Steven Seagal's guitar player was
much, much, better than Steve himself, which leads me to imagine
that Seagal beat him up in the parking lot after the show, to
compensate for his (Seagal's) inexperienced, simple guitar
"DON'T EMBARASS ME IN FRONT OF MY FANS!!", he'd
scream as he pummeled his guitar player in a rage of insecurity.
Cheech Marin came out and sang a children's song
about "Cheech the School Bus Driver". Quite
entertaining. We clapped along like a group of drunken four-year
olds. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggin was on stage, but I forget
what he did. This guy who bounces/juggles balls inside a giant
triangle was also there.
Penn and Teller themselves didn't do much more
than host the show, which was a disappointment to me, because I
was expecting to see some comedy-magic from them. The closest
thing we got to magic was when Teller, dressed as the "Masked
Magician" from "Magic's Greatest Secrets Revealed"
opened a can of chicken noodle soup. He used exaggerated hand
movements and smoke to make it look "amazing". Good
stuff. If anybody has that episode on tape, contact me.
I NEEDED A NAP
Remember, I live in a small town (Cue
"Dueling Banjos"), and hardly ever get out, so all of
the noise and brightness of Las Vegas took its toll on me. While
everybody went gambling or drinking or whatever, I got the hotel
room to myself to get some sleep. I was interrupted a few times,
but I eventually drifted off.
I was woken from a sound sleep by Patrick.
Patrick: "Hey man, get up, we gotta get
Aaron out of jail".
Patrick: "Yeah, he was drunk and got into a
fight at the bar downstairs. We gotta scrounge up some money for
I staggered out of bed and got dressed in the
bathroom. I came back out, ready to go, and everybody was
sleeping. Turns out the whole story was just made up to get me out
of the bed. I ended up sleeping on the freaking floor. Damnit.
HARD ROCK CAFE
There was actually an
"official" reunion, meaning people paid over 100 dollars
a head to meet in this conference room. We pretty much just poked
our heads inside the room to see if there was anybody we knew.
There were only about five people I recognized personally. One of
them was Stephanie (I forget her last name, sorry) - we ended up
hanging out with her the last couple days I was there. On the way
to the airport to drop me off, she took us to the Hard Rock Cafe.
I like guitars.
I know, I know, there's a Hard Rock Cafe in
every city; it's no big deal - But you don't understand! The
Hard Rock in Vegas has Jimi Hendrix's Flying V guitar AND
one of Elvis's white suits. I got my Jimi fix and my Elvis fix all
in one place! That's value! Since I couldn't find any Elvis
impersonators anywhere, the suit was gonna have to do. Just
pretend that's Elvis standing next to me doing one of those Kung
Fu-like Elvis poses and going, "Thankyaverymuch". Ah,
I've got redeye in that photo, and my hair's matted, but screw it.
When it comes to photographs, I go for feel, dude.
I said See - See-see rider...
I was dropped off at the airport with just a few
minutes to make my flight. Running frantically through a strange
airport is not exactly fun (Especially if you're out of shape),
but you could call it exciting.
Well, not much to say here - I boarded the
plane, went home, and slept for a day. Then I got back to my
boring life. For a week, I got to be a little more like my old
self again, and see most of my old friends. I got to smoke
cigarettes. I drank, but never got
"Run-Around-Naked-Vomiting" drunk, so no problem there.
To round it all up, I had fun. We should try it again sometime.
On a side note, this article is seven days
late. Remind me not to try to compress a week's activities into
one article. It takes way too long.