Fear and Self Loathing Title ImageI met a woman at a party. (One of many women, heh, heh…) Okay, I’d been drinking. We talked for a bit…I can’t remember how long. Like I said, I had a few in me. I do remember we differed in our appreciation of fireworks. (I liked loud booms, she liked pretty lights). But apparently I gave her my card. A drunk Halcyon is a self-promoting Halcyon.

So she looked up prehensile.com and sent me a couple emails.

Then she sent me an email asking if I would be her date to her High School Reunion in Las Vegas the following weekend. She already had airline tickets and hotel reservations.

Whoa.

Half of me says WARNING! WARNING! STAY AWAY! The other half is screaming, “What a crazy story this would be!”

Halcyon at the Airport Desk

Aside from the fact that she could be a crazed sociopath, I had mixed feelings about going to Vegas.

I’m not really a big fan of the place. Its an artificially created destination. If it had its own culture worthy of visiting, they wouldn’t have faux-cultures for each themed casino. “New York, New York” has a Statue of Liberty Replica. “Luxor” has replicas of Egyptian landmarks. It gives me the willies. I wonder if parents believe that taking their kids to see the replica of Michaengelo’s “David” in Caesar’s Palace is an inexpensive equivalent to visiting Italy? Culture PLUS gambling!? And where are the performing white tigers in Europe? In Italy, you can’t even get ice in your soda. That vacation decision is a no-brainer.

And when you get beyond the theme-park facades, Las Vegas is a sin-pit. All the excesses are allowed and encouraged. Drink hard. Fuck whores. Gamble. That’s the norm is Las Vegas. It almost takes the fun out of excessive behavior. Crossing the line is half the fun of being deviant.

I think Vegas fell when they started putting “SPIN” buttons on slot machines instead of making people pull the lever. If pulling the lever is too labor-intensive for you, you need to take a step back and look at your life.Walking on the Tarmac

But as much as Las Vegas sickens me, it holds a groin-tickling fascination as well. Some of this feeling is due to my love and admiration of Hunter S. Thompson and his “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Thompson pioneered Gonzo Jounalism. This was a method of not reporting on an event, but reporting from within it. For example, in Fear and Loathing, instead of writing about the motorcross race he was supposed to be covering, he wrote about the drug crazed adventures he got into while in Las Vegas hotels for the event. The event is secondary. Just a backdrop for his personal storytelling. Hunter was hugely influencial for me. The main charater is the author, himself. And if you’ve read a Tale or two, you know that prehensile.com dabbles in that formula, as well.Within the Terminal

My dynamic with my “date” worked perfectly with the Gonzo setup. She doesn’t know me from Adam. She’s never seen me sober. For all she knows, I never AM sober. She only knows me from what I’ve written on Prehensile.com. Based on my stories about masturbating and assorted lunacy she wants to take me to Vegas.

She’s begging for a weekend of Fear and Loathing.

I HAD to go.

This was a perfect Gonzo opportunity! I could be anyone I wanted. What would I tell her old classmates?
“Hi, I played bass in the band, Europe. Yeah, you might remember our hit, ‘The Final Countdown?'”

or
“Yes, I produce adult films. My ‘Deep Inside the Ass-Master 2000’ series is selling fantastic overseas right now. In fact, we’re always looking for new talent…here’s my card.”

As we boarded the plane to Vegas, my mind started wandering. I was kinda worried that she was going to return her tray-table to the seat-back in front of me and confide, “You know, I actually don’t have a reunion this weekend. We’re going to visit my parents. They think we’ve been married 3 years. Our daughter’s name is Yolanda. And you’re an Electrical Engineer.”

Before I left, I forwarded her email to my brother and said, “If there’s no new Tale of the Week on Monday, track down this woman and have her show you where she disposed of my body.”Boarding the Airplane

Well, I got back last Sunday. Did I do it? Did I go Gonzo?

Seeing Fear and Loathing in the theatre recently reminded me why I will never be Gonzo. Hunter S. Thompson is Gonzo at the expense of those around him. When reading the book, my mind’s eye created cartoonish scenes of his antics. Seeing his behavior inflicted on real people in the film turned my stomach. I’m just too concerned about other people’s feelings, whether it be my date, her unsuspecting classmates, or the guy who trades buckets of quarters in for paper bills.

So I lost a few bucks in the slots, saw “Everest” at the Caesar’s Palace IMAX, caught up on my sleep, and was pleasant as pumpkin pie at the reunion.

The only Gonzo I feel an identity with is the muppet. I haven’t decided yet if I’m disappointed or proud.

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