VIVA LAS VEGAS---
One of the great joys of being a parent is
getting drunk with your kids. So when my youngest son invited me to Las
Vegas for his 21st birthday party last week, I was raring to
"VEGAS, BABY!!!!!" I shouted.
"Gambling, alcohol, nightclubs, burlesque shows, oh, yeah!!! Letís
"Do you mind taking care of the cost
of our two-bedroom hotel suite as my birthday present?" he innocently
Oh. I get it. My wallet got the invite,
But it was no big deal. Apparently, 10 kids
would be staying in the suite, and they were all chipping in, supposedly.
And besides, another father was coming with his son who was also
celebrating his 21st. So Iíd have someone to hang with once
the kids took all my money and dumped me.
I arrived on Thursday afternoon, before any
of the kids, and checked in. The hotel clerk had me in the room next door
to the suite. I immediately had it switched to a room seven floors above.
After I inspected my measly little single room, I
headed for the hotel pool, where I bought a $9.00 beer. No wonder they
We all met in the suite a little later--my son,
his older brother, their best friend, and seven girls who drove in with
them from San Diego. Thatís who was staying in the suite. I quickly
realized I wasnít about to be reimbursed.
"Who wants a shot?" cried someone after
about five seconds. Apparently, the party was starting, ready or not. I
was looking longingly at the door, hoping the other father would walk in
soon. I needed help.
"Daddy doesnít do shots anymore," I
calmly replied as the tequila they had transported across state lines
But Daddy eventually succumbed to peer pressure, even
if all the peers were 20-somethings. It was Vegas, and it was my youngest
sonís 21st. And I was celebrating the fact that I wasnít
buying the drinks.
That would soon change, however, as everyone prepared
to head out for the long night of clubbing, or whatever they call it. They
got dressed in their fancy clothes (It was worth the trip just to see my
boys with a tie and their pants pulled up) and we headed out to dinner.
By this time, the other 21 year old, along with his
entourage and, thankfully, his father, showed up. Not only would he foot
half the bill, weíd both look a little less perverted by not going solo
with a bunch of young girls in tow.
After paying for dinner, it was still too early to head
for the clubs, since it was only 10:30 p.m., so it was time for the
obligatory gambling. My sonís plan to give me shots and then have me
fund his gambling fell flat.
Instead, I reminded both of my sons what my wise father
once told me while we drove down the Las Vegas strip when I was 10 years
"See those spectacular buildings where no expense
was spared to entice you to come in," he said as he pointed to the
glittering casinos. "Where do you think they got the money to build
Good advice, but it didnít stop them from heading to
the blackjack tables, where they promptly lost about $100 each, or about
half of their bank account. But they did get a free drink.
Finally, it was time for the clubs. This is why we were
here, apparently. Itís what you do in Vegas, besides gambling. I hate
But I went to the first club with them, anyway. There
was no one there over 23 except the other father and me. We were
completely invisible, which suited me just fine. If no one looked at us,
they couldnít think we were perverts.
After about 20 minutes, I was ready to go home. I
certainly didnít want to follow them to the fancy clubs, where you can
avoid the long lines by buying a table, complete with a bottle of vodka,
for only about $1500. I was happily done for the evening.
On my solo taxi ride back to the hotel, I reflected on
the night. It wasnít that costly, I got to hang out with my boys, and I
didnít get arrested. All in all, it was a good night. And by the time
they got back to the hotel at 7 a.m. I was on a flight home. Perfect.