Since they don’t ask high school seniors to write essays titled “What I Did This Summer” I thought I would take the liberty — sans petitioning for “permission” — of whipping up a quick account of my son’s recent trip north of Hell (that would be Phoenix, AZ, for the unititiated).
A couple weeks ago he trekked up into Utah with his mother and her friends’ family. On the way up they stopped at Lake Powell, a place I’ve never been, but you can see him here taking in one of nature’s wonders — although I’m really pretty sure he’s wondering when they’re going to be back on the road.
In Utah, Salt Lake City to be precise, they were at a mall or something one day. I got an MMS message from him with a picture attached. Be mindful that the first place I saw this image was on the small screen of my Blackberry, and initially I thought it was him edited into some image — the text of his message read “Check out this coin bank.”
Imagine my impulse to recoil initially, given that my brain tried to convince me it was my son on the label. It took a couple seconds to realize it was not him. What I find most humorous about this is that he found it in Salt Lake City of all places, a formidable bastion of Mormonism. I was also told they have another bank declaring “I’m saving for some weed.” Say what you will about those Mormons, they’re alright in my book!
In case you can’t make out the text on the label it says “I’m saving for a blowjob!” and below that, in smaller text, “But I’ll settle for a hamburger.”
His last two days he got to stay in Vegas. Allow me to give you an abridged synopsis of my trips to Vegas as a kid.
My paternal grandparents lived in Boulder City, a small town between Hoover Dam and Vegas. During our trips to see them we would often go into Henderson or Las Vegas to eat cheap or so the adults could partake in some bingo or other various gambling delights. Nevada law mandates that children under the age of 21 are not allowed on the casino floor, so we couldn’t very well stand there and watch them gamble, wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression to young minds, right? Certainly not! All the flashing lights, neon, huge signs along the strip, clinking of coins and ringing of slot bells, those were all designed as distractions — not that we would ever encode all the glitzy imagery in our developing brains.
When the adults gambled we got corralled in the arcade; it could have been a closet with a Pong game, but it wasn’t on the casino floor, so it passed muster. The folks and grandparents would wander in occasionally to
grease bribe assuage their guilt gift us with a roll of quarters. This sufficed for the time it took to dump them into video game machines, devices with appetites like a whore that just made bail. When we ran out we might venture as far as we dared without getting busted by casino security. Looking back we should have been a little more aggressive — what would they do, toss us outside?
So we got quarters and cheap meals; I certainly have an appreciation for the former and deep respect for the latter, and have tried to impress upon my son the virtues of what Vegas (and Henderson) used to be like. “If you paid $1.99 for breakfast somewhere it was almost considered legal mugging” I told him. “For under a buck you could get the whole shootin’ match for breakfast back then” I added, remembering wistfully.
Big buffets for some ridiculously low fee. Remember those? Those days are long gone . . . as if he cared.
Neither mom, dad, nor the grandparents ever hooked me up like he got this summer:
Look at that grin, will ya! He won’t be telling his kids about cheap food. No sir!