Things I Did With My Latest Unemployment Check, Las Vegas Edition: An Anecdotal Accounting
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1. Purchased Chiplotle Chicken Sandwich Combo Meal (US$5.08 offered for a limited time by a local fast-food establishment featuring mascot in a creepy, cartoonishly encephalitic head) at first stop on trip to Las Vegas, Nevada from Hollywood, California. Noticed that fast-food establishments in Hollywood section of Los Angeles all feature movie memorabilia on walls, to remind diner that they are consuming nutrition-poor food in Entertainment Capital of the World.
2. Transportation expenses: Paid $16.43 for gas fill-up for friend's car less than five miles from hotel/casino/gulag-outpost (Price of room: free, but located so far from fabled Las Vegas Strip that the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower was invisible to the naked eye. Noted: "This is where a bad game show would send us.").
2a. Total cab fare from hotel/casino/gulag-outpost to world-famous hotel-casinos: US$35.00 Advice from cabdrivers re: cost-effectiveness of our free room at hotel/casino/gulag-outpost versus distance to world-famous hotel-casinos: free, but plus-US$5.00 in withheld gratuities for smug counsel.
3. Lost approximately US$150.00 playing blackjack in various world-famous hotel-casinos. I am small-time, possessed of luck in the "minimal to nonexistent" range, and, as the title of this piece certainly suggests, currently unemployed and lacking prospects for new work. Otherwise, losses would be in the "storming the beach at Normandy, barechested, brandishing 'Krauts Shoot Here!' sign" range.
4. Purchased between eight (8) and fifteen (15) Red Bull and vodka cocktails in one Las Vegas evening, at prices ranging from US$5.50 to US$10.00. Discovered that there was variable pricing on drinks even within the walls of a particular casino. To whit:
Exact figures for money spent on these cocktails is unavailable. Recent studies show that the mixing of spirits with various artificial stimulants impair one's abilities to properly account for funds spent on cocktails, as well as totally cripple the ability to stop purchasing aforementioned cocktails. Furthermore, studies reflect directly proportional relationship between number of cocktails ingested and decreasing ability to communicate on loud nightclub dancefloor with drunken, 30-member Venezuelan bachelorette party whose limited English proficiency nonetheless includes the phrase, "You are about to get raped." 5. Purchased cheeseburger (US$4.17) from 24-hour outlet representing the sole amenity in hotel/casino/gulag-outpost. Cheeseburger fails to dull sting of unfulfilled promise of Venezuelan bachelorette party, but does wonders for the satiation of grease craving, allowing for restless sleep on floor of free hotel room under leather jacket for warmth.
6. On the way out of hotel/casino/gulag-outpost the following afternoon, spent US$0.25 on nickel slot machine in last-ditch effort to lose last fraction of latest unemployment check. Annoying spurt of luck requires more than thirty-five pulls of slot machine handle to surrender final nickel and attempt to leave with empty pockets and shred of dignity intact. Efforts fail as octagenarian (sitting in wheelchair, breathing from oxygen tank) playing adjacent machine cackles as I beg unfeeling one-arm bandit to allow me to lose and go home. Did not feel that I could afford to cry, despite realization that tears are only thing truly free in Las Vegas.
Mark Lisanti can come work for us. For free.