The old adage about how what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas makes more sense to me now. It puts me in mind of those misguided state assembly members in New Jersey who had a mind to make "Born To Run" the official state song. " Maybe the place really does "rip the bones from your back", and it is perhaps best described as a "death trap", but it still doesn't come across as much of a promotional anthem. This is also true of the brain trust that decided on Oklahoma's state motto, "Oklahoma's OK". That would seem to imply that it is the generic equivalent of a state: Color and consistency may vary, but should be suitable for everyday use.
Now back to this Las Vegas thing. What isn't being said must be the truly regrettable things, the drunken escapades with transvestite hookers and the liquidation of your children's college fund for the sure thing you've got going at the blackjack table in the back. That stuff should stay in Vegas. In fact, it might be nice if it never happened at all, but that seems to be the nature of the beast. Maybe keeping things in Vegas helps to explain the Wayne Newton phenomenon, now known in its twenty-first century form, the Danny Gans phenomenon. Drinking, smoking and, of course, gambling seem to be happening at every moment of every day out there in the middle of the desert. Comparisons to Sodom and Gomorrah may be just a little too simple since I don't recall any reference in the Bible to ninety-nine cent shrimp cocktail.
All that being said, I can say it is possible for a family to have a good time visiting the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Part of the trick, it seems, is to avoid those things that make it America's number one obfuscation destination. I don't drink, smoke, or gamble, so that gave me plenty of time to lounge by the pool and enjoy some very nice meals. I just missed seeing Rush in concert (though my friends were lucky enough to go and get a tour shirt to prove it). I did get to see Penn and Teller, who were gracious enough to hang out in the lobby of their theater at the Rio shaking hands and signing bits of paper. And I got married. Well, technically my wife and I got our vows renewed by Elvis at the Garden of Love chapel "just seconds off the strip". These were all happy events that I am proud to share with anyone outside the city limits of Las Vegas. I suppose when it's all said and done, it's just another place where you make choices and deal with the consequences, good or bad, but I don't know if the could fit that on a billboard.