For the past ten years or so, with only one exception, I've been attending a ridiculous event called a scooter rally in Las Vegas, NV.
To be honest, the first few years were really fun for me, the rest have been somewhat disappointing. But I keep on going in hopes of it being fun again. I'm no different from the feeble, nicotine-stained old women that play the slots for hours on end. We all keep hoping for the big payout, and we all keep losing.
I hate Las Vegas. I think it's one of the worst places in the world. There's no reason a city should even be there, yet it persists, like a gaudy, artificial oasis. Its imported palm trees are a metaphor for the whole damned place--fronds bathed in soul-sucking neon light, roots littered with leaflets advertising payday loans and prostitutes.
I go there for the rally. But always within a few hours of arriving I feel like one of those trees and I can't wait to leave. Some argue that it's a great place due to the wealth and low taxes, but with something like 80% of Las Vegas homes currently underwater, it's clear that the wealth is an illusion. The city is an empire built on the backs of addicts, strippers, and illegal aliens. Its economy is a house of cards.
Still I go. And I have fun. We ride our scooters around, head out to Red Rocks, or Hoover Dam, down the strip to the "Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. We eat at buffets and try to get some sun.
This year our family also had a legitimate reason to go there. My mother-in-law married and moved to Las Vegas a few months ago, so the rally presented us with a good opportunity to visit her. They were gracious hosts and my kids really enjoyed visiting and riding their horses.
Speaking of animals, that brings me to the real reason I started this post. I know you thought I was just going to trash on Las Vegas until all my relatives that live there hate me. Well the joke's on you because most of them never liked me much to begin with. But seriously, my wife is from Las Vegas, so it can't be all bad.
Actually the real reason I started this post was to complain about our dog.
See, when we left for the rally we had to find someone to watch him. After some arm-twisting my wife convinced her brother to take him in. I'm not saying her brother is dangerous or anything, but if anybody stood a chance of accidentally poisoning him with a strange herbal concoction, he's the guy. He even mentioned he had a good remedy for Midnights bad breath. I was ecstatic. The kids would never forgive me for getting rid of the dog myself. Though he has bitten me more than once I'm stuck with him. But if it was an accident. . .
I've realized that though I'm not generally touchy about germs, when It comes to dogs I'm a total germophobe. Like today for example, my mom wondered what the puddle of sludge leaking out of her car was, so I tasted it to see if it was brake fluid, motor oil, or anti-freeze. No problem. But just knowing the dog has rubbed his abcessed gums on our area rug makes me think twice about even entering the room.
For someone like me, a dog is a miserable lose/lose proposition: On one end a snot-nosed, stinky dishrag of a face, and on the other a furry anus.
Sure, our dog looks like a teddy bear, and teddy bears are cute. But if your teddy bear started walking around your house pooping real poop and eating vomit, you wouldn't let ol' Teddy Ruxpin lick your mouth, you'd kill him with fire.
So the best part of the weekend-- the thing that kept my spirits up in the city I call Satan's Armpit was that for two days I harbored a warm, glowing hope in my heart that maybe, just maybe, my brother-in-law would accidentally kill our dog while we were gone.
Much to my chagrin, when we returned to pick him up, not only was Midnight still alive, but he had just foraged through my brother-in-laws trash and eaten a poopy diaper.
He happily got into our car, snuffling and snorting, his doggy beard glistening with diaper crystals, and tried to lick me.
I almost threw up but I didn't want to give him a treat.