Loathing in Las Vegas

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I'm not a very good hedonist, I guess.

Here I am in Las Vegas, and to my way of thinking, everything I hate about the human race is conveniently compressed into one tidy package.

And I ask myself: what's my problem? Why do I let places like this get to me so much? I mean, after all, why should I care what other people do with their time and their lives? What business is it of mine?

Well, it's none of my business, of course. The whole human race could wallow around in whatever it wants, and as long as it doesn't adversely affect me or the people about whom I care, it really shouldn't matter. And, on the whole, this is the state of affairs, because I have designed my life in a tidy little bubble and need not trouble myself with such thoughts.

It still chews at me, though, why I get so irked by hoardes of people engaging in as many bacchanalian propensities as they can muster. Drinking. Drugs. Sex. Slack-jawed gaping of The Things That Are So Bright and The Things That Are So Big. It just isn't my cup of tea.

My little girl, whose competition brings me here, expressed it wisely beyond her years when, unprompted, she said to me: "Dad, I notice that everything in this town is fake." And that, I finally realized, was what had my panties in such a wad.

The blonde hair is fake. The big boobs are fake. The wretched, fawning smiles are fake. The attitudes are fake. The posturing, preening, and posing are all put-ons designed by the ho-bags and douche-wads stumbling up and down the streets to hopefully bed whatever quarry about which they fantasize.

So is it because I'm repelled out of some sense of moral repugnance? Nope. I think we're pretty much responsible for our own souls. I don't really care what these nitwits do.

How about disappointment? Well, I think we're starting to get close. And it isn't because I'm personally associated with these folks.  I don't directly care about any of these people, but I guess since I identify myself as part of this group as a fellow human, it's disheartening to see it race to the bottom by the most basic cravings. Aren't we capable of more than this? Do we really need to make these distractions and destructions the high point of our existence?

In other words, is heading to a place like this the best thing to which people may look forward? I see nothing around me but (a) ads for sex; (b) ads for drinking; (c) and, in the greatest abundance of all, ads for personal injury lawyers (the most popular one of which has the unlikely surname of – – and I'm not making this up – – Golightly).

Now, look, I realize that the human race doesn't consist of a bunch of poets and artists. We're not all going to be sitting around engaging in witty bon mots and cerebral repartee. Bell curves are everywhere, and most people, ipso facto, are average. I'm not naive enough to believe that humanity can elevate itself to its highest potential.

I also recognize that this place is a house of mirrors, and authenticity is still present in the world. But what puzzles me is how persistently people are drawn to this circus. 

"Oh, Tim, you're such a stick-in-the-mud! They're just having fun!" Yeah, yeah, I know. And you're not convincing me. And as this cancerous convergence of self-indulgence and glitter (understood broadly as "Western Culture") metastasizes in China, Russia, India, and everywhere else it can be developed, more and more of our fellow humans are going to squander at least a portion of their lives exchanging their dollars for the hope of some kind of temporary escape.

The best I can do is stay as far away as possible and draw whatever edifying lessons I can from my repulsion to what troubles me. We can learn of ourselves by what we love, what we hate, and what causes us to react.

Party on, Wayne!