How to Be Here

Ten rules for successful Las Vegas living

Rule 1. Get out! At least three times a year for at least three days each stretch. Otherwise, you will go insane. Cabin fever aside, you need to experience how the rest of the world lives to remind yourself that Las Vegas, for all its shortcomings, is like summertime, when the living’s easy. For every cool out-of-town bar, there is a last call. For every big-city museum, there is the price of admission and the realization that you don’t need a boring museum every day. For every awesome ocean, there’s a stinky fish smell. The longer you stay away, the more likely you may even form a tear of joy when the glow of Las Vegas first comes back into view.

Rule 2. Feel free to feed the habit. But wear a bib or a smock if you think you might get sloppy. Remember to burp the habit, too. Addendum: If the habit wakes you up in the middle of the night, it probably just has gas. You should probably ignore it. This is not a metaphor.

Rule 3. Find good people. Hold on to them for dear life. Make them happy whenever you can. Cherish their every quirk and flaw. Caveat: No matter how hard you try to keep them, they’ll probably leave at some point. Get over it. Meet new people.

Rule 4. If you have to go to the Strip, keep your eyes on the carpet. This is also known as Uncle Izzy’s Get Rich Sporadically Scheme. In a casino, there is truth in the swirls, and sometimes $100 chips and errant pearls. (Wait a minute, that’s not a pearl … ewwwwww.)

Rule 5. Avoid the meth. That shit’s boring. Addendum: Taking copper out of light poles or air-conditioning units pays squat and isn’t worth the penalties when you get busted, which you will, because you’re on meth.

Rule 6. Wake up at 3 a.m. and go do whatever the hell you want. Then smile because the rest of the country can’t do any of these things at 3 a.m. Go cash a $100 bill or buy a gallon of Jim Beam or maybe: Blue drinks at the Peppermill. Watermelon Jell-O cake at Jerry’s Nugget. 1-2 limit Hold ’em at the El Cortez. Playboy Pinball at the Double Down. Karaoke at Dino’s. Bingo at Arizona Charlie’s. Barbecue chicken sandwich at Pop’s. Chocolate pie at Du-par’s. Etcetera. Etcetera.

Rule 7. Drink in moderation, especially in summer. Alcohol, that is. You can drink all the water you want. In fact, you should drink more water than you want. Indeed, even if two greazy apes come up to you and hold you down and a third one grabs a beer bong filled with water and shoves it in your mouth, you should gratefully accept every precious drop of hydration even if you think you’re about to burst. Short-term effect: discomfort. Long-term effect: unknown. More studies are needed. Medium-term effect: a profound absence of dizzy and an epic celebration of focus and patience with the world.

Rule 8. Bring a sweater to the movie theater in the summer. Also, carry sunscreen in the winter. Addendum: Never be disappointed by the fact that there is no fall or spring.

Rule 9. Do not get stuck putting New York’s template of culture on Las Vegas’ quirky platform. Cultivate Vegas culture. If someone wants to throw an opera, or a ballet or build a museum, or whatever, we’ll take it. But it’s not the salvation of our city. We can appreciate these things; we just don’t need them, because they don’t naturally rise out of our lifestyle. Instead, demand and/or support only the highest caliber lounge acts, costumed characters on the Strip, Diaspora Vegas kids and insane people on Fremont Street. Maybe, by objective standards, some of these things are “second rate.” But so what? They’re ours. Why waste energy worrying whether our culture meets some “Manhattan test.” Who wants to take a Manhattan test, anyway? It sounds invasive. What matters is whether Las Vegas culture feeds our inherent appetite for creativity. Caveat: Naughty hypnotists take one step back, thank you.

Rule 10. Tip well. And always take even money when you have blackjack and the dealer shows an ace.

Rule 11. Break the rules. It’s not hard. People who say there are rules in Las Vegas are either new to town or secretly trying to control you. In a city where a pyramid lives next to a castle, across the street from the Statue of Liberty, across the street from a palace, across the street from the Eiffel Tower, there is nothing you’re not allowed to do.

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