"I equate gambling with being an asshole. If you don't have a life, go to Las Vegas, you dick."
I should take offense to that. Instead, I laugh every time I hear it.
I received a dubious reprieve this year. Questions were hashed and rehashed, decisions were made and remade, and when it all came out of the oven, I was "granted" a four-week leave from covering the World Series of Poker. This life change caused no small amount of consternation for this humble writer. More than half of my pscyhe was comforted by the change. It meant four more weekends to take my family on weekend day trips. It meant I got to watch my boy really swim for the first time. It meant I got to enjoy all of those comforts of home, carnal and otherwise, that I just don't get in Las Vegas.
It also meant that I was forced to do the one thing I hate about any form of writing. I had to watch from the bench for four weeks while Pauly churned out his best content in years, Gene took over my Video Poker quads dominance, and the rest of the elite blogging team in Vegas tore up what is reported to be the best-run Series since it moved to the Rio. I hate being relegated to anything, even if it means I'm relatively more sane for it.
My month-long pass is about to expire. This time next week, I will be up to my uvula in work and grousing like I have for the past several years. The shortened time-frame and additional responsibilities are sure to keep me out of too much trouble, and for that I'm actually thankful. Still, Vegas is a tough place to be for more than five days. For a few days, it's fun to be Hank Rollins' happy asshole. Any more than that and it becomes an amber-soaked zombie walk through one's personal hell.
As I wrote these few paragraphs, I went back and reviewed my postings from Vegas 2005-2007. I considered a brief retrospective. Then I decided against it.
I am a different person this year. I can't say how or what's changed, but I know I am different. Whether it's because I will be there for a shorter time or whatever has clicked in my head, I'm optimistic about the survivability of this trip. I actually feel like it will be successful, whatever that means.
I write this now so I can look back on it in three weeks when a normal life seems like a memory.
So, Hank, I'm going to Vegas in a few days. Chances are that I will gamble. My hope is that I come out the other side as a non-asshole, life-having, non-dick.