First he wrote a memoir about deferring dreams of magic for law school (Lawyer Boy: A Case Study on Growing Up, St. Martin’s Press, 2008). Then he wrote a second memoir about deferring lawyering to study magic and deception in Las Vegas (Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011). Now, Rick Lax releases his third book (I Get Paid for This: Kicking Ass and Taking Notes in Vegas, Huntington Press, $11.96), which, more or less, relates what happens after he deferred both lawyering and magic to be a stunt journalist for the Las Vegas Weekly.
Lax captures the reader’s attention in the first chapter as he tries on seven different Las Vegas jobs in seven days (stunt journalist is Day 1, and it serves as an introduction). The jobs range from bathroom attendant to casino executive to street performer doing magic tricks (natch). If this premise seems familiar, it’s because Corey Levitan had a similar column at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nonetheless, Lax’s witty one-liners and colorful descriptions make you feel like you are in the scene with him, minus the toilet paper sticking to your shoe as you exit the bathroom pictured on the book cover. The majority of I Get Paid For This features Lax’s previously published stories from the Las Vegas Weekly. The final chapter is his opinion on the ups and downs of being a professional writer (he discusses his immunity to hate mail).
One of the book’s highlights is the fun and expressive photography by Bryan Adams. The beautifully lit full-page photos of Lax illustrate different segments of the book, and Lax certainly seems to have a blast hamming it up for the camera. For example, in the chapter about writing, Lax poses at his laptop with a single rose in his mouth and a delightedly goofy expression on his face. Perhaps he does have a future in performing, after all.
Buy I Get Paid for This at ShopLVA.com or at Rick Lax’s Book Release Party at Artisan, 6-8 p.m. Jan. 16.