What happens in Vegas…

I was in Las Vegas last month for a bachelor party. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, and it was my first time with friends instead of parents. I’m not much of a gambler, so I wasn’t really expecting that to be a draw. Honestly, I just went for the people.

It was a philosophically invigorating trip.

The sheer scale of the casinos are amazing, with such grandeur, such incredible attention to detail. Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay, Aria…they are all so opulent, so rich. The grand windows, the ornate carpets, the beautiful ceilings…

…and beneath all that? Portly retirees and foreign tourists fritter money away on colorful spinning dials and bad cigarettes.

You step out into the night air. The casinos tower above. Luxor with its spire of pristine white light. Paris, in its decadence and self-indulgent whimsy. The elegant Fountains at the Bellagio…

…then you go out into the street, and sullen people in neon shirts try to pawn off cards with pictures of naked women. They litter the sidewalk like so much wet-dream confetti (the cards, not the people in the shirts).

Las Vegas embodies so many aspects of the human condition. Ambition and inspiration in the exquisite structures. Avarice and cunning to fund it. Hope that draws gamblers for that one chance, and despair when all is lost. Spend even just a day in Las Vegas, and you will encounter the whole spectrum of human emotion.

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