01 December 2010

How Vegas Turned Around My Life

Late October 2002.  My 14 year old dog, whom I affectionately called, "Dog," passed away.  I found her as I was getting ready to go to a funeral.  The deceased was the grandfather of the girl I was dating.  That day sucked for both of us.  Imagine my surprise when, within a week, she abruptly broke up with me.  I was still mired in a funk when a friend of mine suggested I come visit him in Las Vegas.  He was in the Air Force (where he served our country honorably for six years) and lucky for me he wasn't stationed somewhere boring.  I happened to be in a good place financially and since I'm impetuous I booked a flight.  The deal was I'd fly out, stay with him, we'd drive home for Christmas and drive back out for New Year's, then I'd fly home the day before the Spring semester started.

Now, my friend maintained his own apartment, but spent most of his time with his girlfriend's family.  That left me with his place to myself most of the time.  The apartment had a decent sized kitchen and living room, and the master bedroom ran the length of both rooms, with a bathroom off the bedroom.  The bathtub was so large even William Taft could have had elbow room.  Being that I was in Las Vegas in a funk, I had holed up with a bottle of Old Whiskey River and some outlaw country albums like Willie and Family Live and Waylon's Honky Tonk Heroes.  I was quite hungover one morning and decided instead of a shower I'd lounge in a warm bath.  So I started running the water and toddled off into the room with the toilet.  I got distracted reading an issue of Rolling Stone and before I knew what was going on, my feet were wet.  Yup, I'd overflowed the bathtub large enough to hold Kanye West's ego.

It took me two hours to finish sopping and mopping the excess water.  I know there are people who don't use that much water in a month and I honestly do feel bad about it.  I didn't even tell my friend until well after the fact.  Had I not caught it when I did, I wouldn't have been able to hide it, because the water stopped just short of spreading into his bedroom.  That was the only time I was there that I tried to run the bath.  I stuck with showers thereafter.

Aside from Old Whiskey River, the rest of my diet largely consisted of cookie dough (some of which I bothered to bake as cookies, but most of which I ate out of the tube).  And then, God help me, my friend and I created the Hossburger.  The ground beef was mixed with egg yolks, Cayenne pepper, some Tobasco sauce, beef seasonings and assorted other things.  The patties were roughly the size of Rhode Island.  We didn't top them with bacon.  We covered them with bacon.  And pepperjack cheese.  I think another kind of cheese, too.  The whole artery-clogging mess was put atop a regular sized hamburger bun, which made it even more ridiculous, since a solid two inches of beef hung outside the bun all the way around.

There really isn't a point to these reminisces.  Maybe those days were directly responsible for me developing Crohn's disease.  I can't say.  I also can't say I remember New Year's Eve 2002/2003, though I know I didn't leave my friend's apartment.  In the middle of all this, during our time at home for Christmas I met my wife, and we began dating little more than a month after I returned home.  So, if you're mired in misery I suggest you head to Vegas and hole up in a room with some bourbon and unhealthy food.  You're welcome, people with self-destructive tendencies.