The whole crew suited up

To read part one of CJS’s return to Las Vegas, click here. 

I wake up in the bed nearest the bathroom. That’s odd.

I mean, not that that’s inherently odd by itself, although somehow Lady E almost always ends up closer to the bathroom when we’re in a hotel (or any new place for that matter) by some weird voodoo logic about having to face a certain way when she sleeps. Incredibly, that way always yields her nearest the bathroom forcing me to take the long way around.

The reason it’s odd is because I distinctly remember falling asleep in the other bed. Did I wake up and vomit? I check my clothes, the bathroom, and my breath – relatively clean, only towels and a few stray beer cans on the floor, and wretched but not pukey, respectively.

Hmmm. Waking up in Las Vegas is never dull, that’s for sure.

When I left you last week, I had managed to squander $200 I had won the previous night plus an additional $30. I was heading back to my hotel after a marathon 14 and ½ hour drinking session and looked like Rocky after the first Apollo Creed fight – except worse because I was wearing a vintage Karl Malone jersey for some reason. I became overwhelmed with disappointment at failing to make it until midnight, but the lesson from the previous day rang in my head like that goddamn Destiny’s Child song you sing to yourself for weeks at a time – We can’t drink like we used to. Besides, at least I didn’t pass out at 6:00 or 9:30 like some others I won’t mention.

New game plan today: Pace yourself. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, no need to hit it hard right from the get go. Besides, you’re not a rookie anymore, you’re a crafty Vegas veteran. No need to go all Clay Guida on this town, make like Randy Couture and pick your spot. Just a couple drinks when you hit the tables, take a break for a bit, maybe a beer or two at the pool, then Casino Beirut~!, another break, and then hit it hard at the clubs. Sounds like a plan. Ok, what time is it?

Tropicana Hotel Room, 8:15 a.m. Saturday

 If you look at Keithage on the floor here, that’s about how we all felt.

8:15?!

Fuck!

Remember last year when I chastised Captain 9 Foot about being awake and making out (or eating peanut butter) with his wife at 8:30? I’ve now beaten that by 15 minutes. Great. I’m old. I’ve never been awake at this hour in Las Vegas, so I’m at a loss for what to do. I can’t go back to sleep because unlike in the middle of the work week when the goddamn cats decide they’re bored and want to play “Moses: Leader of the Jews” with your body serving as the endless deserts of Egypt at 4:15, you can’t just shrug it off, roll over, and sleep for another two hours before work. Nope. I’m up.

And why? Because the working world is Satan, that’s why. Not only do you have to wake up everyday before any reasonable person should be conscious, you have to put on your dress clothes, gain enough mental lucidity to be able to drive, and interact with people who hold your financial livelihood in their very hands. And that’s not even the worst part.

The worst part is that repeating this entire masochistic routine every fucking day for 3 years means you can no longer sleep in on the weekends. I can basically count on one hand the number of times I’ve slept past 9 o’clock in the last three years. And what time is it in Denver right now? 9:15. So… victory?

Goddammit. As I consider my options, I mostly just wait for Hart to make any indication of consciousness in the other bed so I can ambush him with a question because I’m now bored. I hear him stir but hesitate to verbally pounce because it could just be the drunk turnin’s. When I hear him cough a couple times and recharge with an “mmmm” I know he’s at least slightly awake, but could be lost at any second, so I need to make my question count. I scan my addled brain quickly and come up with this,

“Hey man, want some tonic water?” referencing that bizarre orphan can from the flight we have just hanging out on our credenza.

This actually gets a laugh, and now he’s fucked because I’m hungover, tired, and bored which means I’m going to start talking like Tarantino after snorting an eight ball. And sure enough, off I go trying to piece together the previous night, rehashing the same worn out jokes from our friends, a recitation of Andy Kaufman’s hilariously bad impression of Jimmy Carter, and my latest untestable but brilliant theory.

This theory will almost certainly cause many of you to like me less, but I promised you last time I’d share some of our filthy material from the trip, and remarkably, this is probably the least offensive snippet of it.

I decided about a month ago that I can tell you exactly how a woman maintains the hair on her undercarriage after looking at her for only 30 seconds. Quicker if I get to talk to her. I can tell you if she’s rocking the full-on Pam Grier 1974, the well-manicured suburban lawn, the Travis Bickle, or the complete Brazilian. And how did I divine this talent? I simply took the entirety of my experience, cataloged it in my head, deduced from what I knew about women in general, used various observational cues about each woman’s outward appearance and combined it into a final answer for each woman.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to ever verify my theories (at least not if I still want to get married – and I very much do), and it’s entirely possible (and likely) that I’m talking out of my ass, but it’s a fun intellectual exercise nevertheless. Hart and I run through several of the women we both know and I give him my synopsis of their business. He seems relatively impressed, but his level of esteem almost certainly pales in comparison to the dread felt by the women reading this hoping we didn’t discuss them or think about their most sensitive areas in this level of detail. Whoever you are, dear CJS reader, we almost certainly talked about someone else.

Skipping ahead slightly, when I share this with E-Dogg, Keithage, and Salwon at breakfast, they start asking me about the women passing by and I rattle off my answers for them like Mel Kiper Jr. analyzing draft picks. We’re behind one woman in particular on the escalator, and Keithage points at her and says to me softly, “What about her?”

And I say, “Travis Bickle, meticulously maintained. She’s got big fake boobs, and is on the arm of a douche bag. No arm hair, lots of makeup. She’s wearing white pants that you can see a black thong through, which means she can’t have anything unsightly poking out the sides of the front when she takes ‘em off. But look at her face – she’s a Midwestern girl which likely means she’s still got some of that Lutheran modesty to her. So, the prospect of going full on bald makes her feel ‘icky’ or like she’s 9 years old and fulfilling some pedophile’s gross fantasy. Travis Bickle. Bank on it.”

This makes me feel like the Dr. Cal Lightman of pubes. Am I completely talking out of my ass? Almost certainly. Am I offending/weirding out whatever female audience we have? Definitely. But what can you do? This is what guys do in Vegas.

So, backtracking a bit, Hart and I decide to check out the weather outside from our beautiful balcony which overlooks the, uh, Tropicana parking lot and a section of Tropicana Blvd. We feel remarkably not terrible, which is a good sign, but probably means we’re still drunk. Thankfully, since so many of the guys passed out so early last night, that likely means they’re down for some breakfast. So we call up E-Dogg who’s as chipper as Dick Van Dyke, Keithage who seems moderately spry, and Salwon who’s already dressed and ready to go. I brush my teeth and immediately feel 35% better. That’s an oft-forgotten hangover trick – wash your grill and all the resultant boozy and smoky ick from your mouth along with it, and you’ll instantaneously feel three shades better. Do it without gagging at least twice, and you’re not that drunk to begin with.

We head over to the Excalibur where there espouses to be a McDonald’s and wait there with all the other psychopaths who are up at 9:00 a.m. in Las Vegas on a Saturday.

Excalibur Food Court, 9:20 a.m. Saturday

Food ends up being a blessing and a curse as my stomach thanks me for not sending something that’s been either fermented or distilled into it for a change, but the rest of my body does a big ol’ rejection spasm as it begins to process all the dormant alcohol. Marathon benders suck if only because you think you’re done being drunk, but then you send some food into your battle-worn digestive tract, and a bunch of alcohol that was hiding like the damn Viet Cong ambushes your frail body, and you’re drunk all over again.

Hart cautiously eats his Egg McMuffin and looks like he’s fighting a losing battle with ralphing all over the shitass counter. He excuses himself back to the room and I fear for anyone who inadvertently bumps into him too hard and earns a face full of esophagus rejection. Everyone else seems at least okay, although I’m fighting it hard. The orange juice I’m drinking is ice cold which is a great thing, but is acidic as hell which is a terrible thing. Basically, this is a breakfast of mixed blessings.

I contemplate hitting an oxygen bar, but none of them are open yet, so I just tough it out. As we meander back to the Tropicana, I get a call from Tron and Limon who’ve decided to hit the buffet at the MGM Grand, a decision which by all accounts, was brilliant. They later describe the mountains of unbelievable food they eat, and while I’m jealous of all the culinary delights they consumed, I can’t help but worry about what havoc this could wreak on their stomachs.

We wonder what to do next, and notice a $5 blackjack table with three empty seats just begging to be attended to. I’ve yet to experience early morning blackjack except for one random stop in Reno during the bus trip from hell on the way to San Francisco, so I decide to pull out $50 and make a go of it. Keithage and Salwon join me at the table, which, I might add, from a pure comfort standpoint is probably the finest table I have ever patronized. Comfy chairs, plenty of elbow room, ample space for your cocktail, and a quiet early morning casino. First class! At the Tropicana! For five dollars! Who knew?

Tropicana Blackjack Tables, 10:15 a.m. Saturday

 Apropos of nothing, here’s a photo Salwon took from his bed from the previous night

We sit down at the table and I buy in for $50. Everyone else buys in and we start rolling. Our dealer is a portly woman named Erika who seems pleasant enough. I hover right around my buy-in point for quite a while until the moment of truth comes…

“Cocktails?”

Oh Christ, am I ready for this? I’m coming off a 14 hour bender the previous day and can barely fathom the idea of force feeding myself more alcohol, but the rest of the guys are looking at me like, “Hey, if you do it, I’ll do it.” It’s like high school all over again, and since it’s my bachelor party, the onus is fully on me. I know I can’t do beer. I feel like the freshman girl who only drinks Zima at a party full of seniors where there’s nothing but a keg of Natty Light and a trash can full of date rape-a-licious red punch. What do I do? I know mixed drinks in Vegas are a ripoff and I’ll get an eyedropper full of vodka in a tiny glass of mixer, but I have to man up. I have to take the plunge and set the tone. I’m probably going to lose my money, so I need to at least make a token showing of fortitude to the bartender. Fuck, here we go…

“I’ll have a screwdriver please.”

Everyone’s face loosens and the rest of the guys follow suit. E-Dogg is inexplicably on the phone with his wife, so I turn to Salwon and say very bluntly, “I think he’s on the phone with his wife. Is that allowed?” Salwon says, “Probably not. But don’t ask me, I already called mine.” Apparently I’m the shitty mate as I haven’t talked to my fiancée since yesterday morning and wouldn’t go on to talk to her until about 10 hours later. Fuck me, right?

Anyway, we continue to tread water, which is about as good as you can hope for when you and all your friends have scored a $5 table together. The guy next to me gets up and E-Dogg finally sits down. “How’s your wife?” I ask derisively after what seems like a 20 minute phone call. “Good,” he responds either oblivious to my tone or rightfully ignoring it. He then proceeds to stand on a 16 against the dealer’s 10 allowing the dealer a 4 which should have been his causing the rest of us to lose.

“You always hit the 16 against a 10,” I lecture him.

“I didn’t want to,” E-Dogg responds defensively. “16 sucks.”

“Don’t you have to call your wife again?”

And that’s the turning point. We all laugh, and the Vegas vibe has returned. I’m halfway done with my first screwdriver, and despite it tasting like delicious orange-flavored acid, my spirits are back up. I’m ahead slightly, but our dealer Erika is doing everything she can to kill our rising spirits. On one hand I have 10 and she’s showing a 9. I’m tempted to double down, but as I’m only slightly ahead, I decide to ask her advice.

“Would you double down on this?”

She seems put off by my question and responds dismissively. “Well, if I knew what my down card was, then I’d tell you.”

I turn to Salwon, “She fuckin’ hates me, dude!” which breaks everyone up. I decide to go for it and lose, naturally. “You are a cruel mistress, Erika. Go easy on me, this is my first time.” She responds with an icy stare, and I now know that since we’re not going to get along until shift change, I have to do everything in my power to openly mock her to her face.

And I’m given a gift with which to do so. The Tropicana has chips commemorating a bunch of low rent events they’ve hosted like “Football Player Arm Wrestling Championships 2002.” I have Miss Hawaiian Tropic 1999, and, taking a page out of Bill Simmons’s book when he had conversations with a Hugh Hefner chip at the Palms, I decide I need to start talking to her to build rapport and coax a winning streak out of this sour dealer.

I give her pep talks before I send her into wagers, recite soliloquies begging her to return to me safely (and with friends!) from awful looking 15s and 16s, and send her out pimping for money. Erika could not be less pleased, and the bitterness raging from behind her floppy t-shirt advertising whatever shitty Italian restaurant is now at the Tropicana is too much to overcome. I lose Miss Hawaiian Tropic. It’s truly a sad day.

But she doesn’t go far and runs straight into the arms of Salwon. That golddigging bitch! We end up trading her back and forth which kicks off a series of jokes like, “Hey, you’ve been tested recently, haven’t you?” and “I don’t know, I started feeling a little something bubble up on my lip last night, hope you brought Carmex” between the two of us. The vibe is incredible, but the cards don’t match it. We’re all just hanging around, and no one can seem to get on a run.

I’m on my third screwdriver, and finally it’s make or break time. I’m up about $10, and I get 8s against a 5 showing. I decide to split, and son of a bitch, I get another 8. I have to split again, and then a 3 comes. Fuck! Time to double down. Thanks for the 4. I get one more 8, and have to split one more goddamn time. There isn’t a 10 to be seen, and I’ve got $30 on the table with hands of 14, 15, 15, 13, and 17. Fan-fucking-tastic.

I say to my crew, “This is the hand that will determine how the rest of the trip goes. Erika busts, and I’m going on a huge run. She continues to treat me like the dominatrix she is, I’m likely done.” And since I’ve been pulling a Simmons by talking to my chip, I’ll quote him here: If you don’t know what happens next, well, you’ve obviously never been to Vegas.

I go out quickly after that and retreat to a depressing and foul-tasting consolation cigarette. The other guys lose quickly as well, and despite a token second wind upon the evil Erika’s exit, I drop another $25 and call it quits on gambling for the rest of the trip. Final damage: -$105 gambling, which is less than I expected to lose. So, victory?

We retreat to the rooms for a little recharge, and decide to meet a couple hours later at the pool.

Tropicana Pool, 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Behind that waterfall is swim-up blackjack during the summer 

Say this for the Tropicana – it’s got a totally decent pool. Last time I was there with Lady E, Hart, and our friend Dettorre, it seemed filled to the brim with children and old people. Hey, doesn’t that sound fun? This time it’s crawling with young people, which is a good sign. But we can’t help but notice just how fat everyone has gotten. You know when you hear about how America continues its march toward ubiquitous obesity? Nowhere is that more evident poolside in Las Vegas as women there to cut loose, and therefore without shame, march around proudly displaying more girth than your average NFL offensive line.

It’s remarkable, really, and sort of mesmerizing. These are the tiniest bikinis I’ve ever seen collected in one place in real life, and more flesh on display than your average slaughterhouse. I applaud people for living their lives without shame, but there’s nothing wrong with finding a swimsuit cut more flattering to your body type. Limon and I dissect one girl wearing a string bikini with the Hustler logo printed all over it. This is obviously a girl who likes attention, but she’s got excess flesh in all the wrong places. We surmise that she was popular and totally hot in high school, found alcohol in college, and bid adieu to her previous high level of athletic activity. Over the course of the next hour and a half, she guzzles approximately 1,200 calories worth of Mai Tai and has grown her alcohol baby protruding over her bikini bottoms impressively. Watching women shy away from a 90 calorie beer in favor of a 500 calorie, sugar-filled alco-pop and wonder why they gain weight is positively mystifying.

Dzayson and Hart posing for what looks like some promotional photo

The pool is perfect for us. We can drink in the water, the water’s good and cold, and we’re taking it nice and easy. We sit around bullshitting bathing in the sunshine for a good couple hours and watch intently as Dzayson seems hellbent on committing a felony with some good-looking underage girls. Thankfully he’s unsuccessful so we don’t have to bail him out of jail later. Always a plus.

As the afternoon marches forward, we decide it’s time for some Casino Beirut. So we dry off, change clothes, and make the Nazi death march toward O’Shea’s.

O’Shea’s Casino, Beirut Room, 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Hart mentioned the Las Vegas City Center in the last Happy Friday, and I’ll reiterate here what I said there. It is one gaudy fucking monstrosity. It lurches over The Strip, and with the omnipresent construction on the East sidewalks, you’re forced through a narrow concrete barrier thoroughfare bringing you even closer to its ugliness. With the constant bottleneck, and nowhere else to walk, the hooker card guys have seized on the opportunity and stationed themselves every 10 feet or so. It’s like Tijuana with the constant haranguing from these assholes, and although Salwon was initially enthralled with the idea (“I love Vegas. You drink everywhere you go, and then someone hands you free porn.”), even he became road weary after the 100th or so time of some dickhead clack-clack-clacking the cards at you.

We finally arrived at O’Shea’s and you can’t have a friendly game of Beirut without a requisite douche bag showing up. So right on cue, enter the USC asshole. Keithage and I set up the cups, and Mr. USC saunters up and asks cockily, “So, is this the amateur table?” <Sigh> How do you respond to something so reeking of vinegar and dripping from the end of a hose? “Yes.” I finally decide on.

“Well, if you guys want to play a game against the pros, winners can come to our table anytime?”

“Oh, so you’re a professional? Tell me, is this your primary means of income?” I ask mockingly.

“No, I’m in IT,” this dork replies.

Smarmy and dumb. Right on. We summarily dismiss him, and return to our game. It’s E-Dogg & Senor Limon VS Keithage and Dagger and I catch fire early. I’m putting them down with remarkable speed, and Keithage is playing like his primary means of income is IT. E-Dogg & Limon go at a steady rate, but Keithage gets hot at just the right time and we’re down to one cup. We can’t get it to fall, and open the door for our opponents. Today is not my day, and if you choke on the last cup more than 3 times, you deserve to lose. And that’s just what I did. Sonofabitch.

E-Dogg and Senor Limon after a rare miss

Tron & Dzayson step up to take on the champions, and this partnership is doomed from the get go. Tron has a reputation for never making a single cup in any game ever, and while he’s not nearly THAT bad, he doesn’t do himself any favors in this game. Dzayson manages two cups while Tron lives up to his reputation as Limon & E-Dogg cruise to a shocking 8 cup victory. 8 cups is virtually unprecedented in a Beirut game, and the defeat is as stinging for the challengers as it is hilarious for the rest of us. Dzayson and Tron retreat with the stink of shame all over them, and more than a full beer each to put away.

Since Hart’s, uh, Hartburn is acting up, I fill in for him and pair up with Salwon for the 3rd, and what would be final, game. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention everyone’s technique for this final match. Limon and I came out of the same Beirut background, so there’s definitive repetition to our technique. We have an easily identifiable routine, and fairly pretty form. I’ve never had the pleasure of playing with E-Dogg before, and I must say, watching him throw a ping pong ball into a cup of beer is a thing of beauty. He’s like the Ray Allen of Beirut. It looks like a jump shot coming out of his hands, and with a tiny, perfect splash on the end, he always finishes smooth. Salwon, on the other hand, begins his match tossing the ball like a shot-put which sends each shot sailing way over the cups and off the end of the table. I tell him to start higher and throw the ball down, which makes his hand go way above his head like he’s shooting a free throw like fucking Bill Cartwright. It’s a bizarre technique, but we manage to stay more or less even with the champs until the end.

But these two motherfuckers have ice water in their veins today, and they put us away like the insolent bitches we are. No one could touch them, and they are without a doubt, the champions of O’Shea’s on this afternoon.

I find out from Keithage that CSU won and covered the under netting him $90 on a $20 bet. Beautiful on both counts. And just as we’re about to say goodbye to the O’Shea’s, we give one last look to USC douchenozzle. In the time we’ve completed three games, he’s only halfway through his first. We should have played him. For money. I could be back up no problem. And since USC lost that day, maybe this dicknose ended up crying into some tranny’s fake tits. One can only hope.

V-Bar, 9:00 p.m. Saturday

After Beirut, we took another break in the hotel room where Hart had a brilliant idea. “I want to start a television station that shows nothing but great hungover movies all day, and sell it to Las Vegas casinos. That way we don’t have to sit through goddamn ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ on TBS anymore before we go out.” Who wouldn’t watch that network? Although, that did lead to a series of buzzed Ray Romano impressions from Hart, Salwon, and myself that were inexplicably uproarious. Salwon summarized every episode of the show thusly,

Deborah: “Ray, your parents are coming over!”

Ray: “Huhhhh! My parents live across the street!”

Robert: “Hey, I’m your brother.”

END.

So we all get suited up and for the first time in my Las Vegas history, everyone in the crew looks fucking gorgeous. And although we didn’t plan it this way, I’m the only one not in a dark suit, which is perfect if you’re the bachelor. You should stand out from your bros, and a light gray suit will do that.

V-Bar, baby.

V-Bar is bumping and I get my usual – Grey Goose, rocks, with a twist. I look around our booth and each guy looks more impressive than the last. From E-Dogg’s red power tie, to Limon’s audacious 3-piece to Hart’s daring white tie, I become even happier we did this. Every conversation and every walk through the casino takes on an added layer of ethos when you wear a suit, and the hicks punctuating the gaming tables in the Tropicana certainly took notice of us as we passed. In the Venetian, you blend a little better.

Of course, after two vodkas, and a round of gin rickeys (the official CJS drink of summer, you know) sponsored by Senor Limon following a day of beer, your inhibitions ain’t what they used to be and your self-importance goes out the window in the name of good-natured buffoonery.

As we left V-Bar, Dzayson and I began reliving some of our favorite pro wrestling memories, namely the promos of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, getting so excited to the point of re-enacting the Bret Hart/Piper verbal showdown at WrestleMania 8. We ended up shouting at each other for the sake of authenticity which alarmed all the passersby and made the scene that much more fun. Only in Vegas.

Mist, Treasure Island, 11:00 p.m. Saturday

Before the trip, Hart and I scouted potential locations for our Saturday night suit expedition. There’s nothing worse than going out in a big group, heading out to one place, deciding you need a change of venue, and everyone stands around trying to decide what the fuck to do. You need at least two people who know what the hell they’re doing before you go anywhere, so Hart and I took that upon ourselves. I’d never set foot in Treasure Island, and wanted to check that off my list.

The verdict: I don’t know, Mist was right at the front, so the rest of the casino remains a mystery.

Mist, on the other hand, is a dandy club. Moderately priced drinks and a DJ who will actually spin you some rock ‘n roll. I had switched back to Amstel Light, and sang along to AC/DC, Blink-182, and a bunch of other fun stuff while admiring Dzayson play up his shameless LA asshole routine with some of the local talent. He’s been a trip to watch on this vacation because of his willingness, and apparent enthusiasm, to go up to absolutely anyone and say just about anything.

Meanwhile, I congratulate Hart on a trip well-planned, talk about the future with Tron, ruminate on the greatness that is Vegas with Salwon, and make more inappropriate jokes with Limon. The night, and the trip overall, has allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with my best friends. I’ve gotten the opportunity to chat with each one of them one-on-one at length, which is what I miss most about growing up. At one point in college, Tron, Limon and I referred to ourselves as the 3-0 (like “trio”). Tron made it up, and while it’s sort of embarrassing to think about now, we were all aggressively single, and spent the bulk of our time with each other getting fucked up and making dick jokes. It’s good to be back with the 3-0. I could tell you a story like that about all these guys, but I don’t have to. Think about your own friends, and then imagine you’re there in Vegas with all of them. You know what I mean.

Las Vegas Strip between Treasure Island and The Mirage, 12:15 a.m. Sunday

Be still my beating heart, there’s a woman with a blue and gold macaw, my favorite parrot. I excitedly walk up to her and start blathering on about how I had a parrot and how I love parrots, and how my favorite wrestler had this type of parrot, and blah blah blah blah drunk drunk drunk.

She says we can take a picture with him for a small donation, so someone pays her $10, and I get a series of awesome photos to commemorate my favorite bird on my favorite suit in my favorite city. Awesome! Only in Vegas can you drunkenly get your picture taken with a parrot in front of a giant fake volcano.

 Dagger and the Parrot

Shadow Bar, Caesar’s, 12:30 a.m. Sunday

There is nothing not to like about this place. The music’s loud enough to give your conversations privacy, the drinks aren’t horrifically expensive, and the silhouettes of naked woman gyrate behind screens behind the bar. Salwon bought me a cigar, and this was the place I knew I wanted to smoke it so I made everyone wait until we got here to do so. And this provided my favorite indelible image from the trip. Everyone sitting around wearing an outstanding suit, cocktail in hand, cigar lit like a champion, looking casually toward the naked dancers. If I could make a movie poster of this trip, I choose this image. That’s how I want to remember Vegas on my bachelor party. Good buzz, brilliant cigar, great friends, and the best we’ve looked all weekend.

Our trip continued from there with an ill-fated attempt to party at Caramel in the Bellagio that resulted in a cab ride back to the Tropicana for a denouement in the Celebration Lounge followed by two hours of sleep, a horrendous 5:30 wake-up call, and a miserable cab ride to the airport. And although E-Dogg’s and my interaction with the half English-speaking clerk at Cinnabon was hilarious, I’d rather end this piece on the highest of high notes.

So I think about the ambient cigar smoke dancing in the air at Shadow Bar. I think about Limon and I half-drunkenly romantically praising the intricacies, beauty, and mystery of the female form over a tumbler of whiskey. And I picture my friends all sitting around there to celebrate my so-called “last hurrah of single life.”

I don’t need strippers. I don’t need the ritual humiliation that goes on at most bachelor parties. I just need my friends, a cigar, and one night of perfect cocktail-infused glory with the guys I’m closest to. Limon paid the perfect tribute to me when he said, “Congratulations on marrying the right woman.” It’s because I’m marrying the right woman that I don’t need all the degrading pageantry of a traditional bachelor party.

All I want to know is that as life inevitably changes, while we may not be able to drink like we used to, some things will never change.

Thanks for the party, fellas.

I’ll never forget it.

Sincerely,

E Dagger

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