We all know the main Waiter’s Retirement Program. Of course, only a fool would put all his eggs in one basket. One must diversify if he wants to be assured of a comfortable retirement. Hence, the Waiter’s Virtual IRA Account . . . Las Vegas winnings!
I’m going out there tonight. It’ll be the first time in years. Generally, I’ve eliminated Vegas from my entertainment diet over the last 7-8 years. I used to go three or four times annually all through the ’90s. In terms of Vegas, I was on fire those years. My unofficial reckoning had me about even for the entire decade, and that included airfare, food, and lodging – not just gambling. I would reconcile how much I had before I left with how much I had when I got home. Telling people you won $500 in Las Vegas while not accounting for the $200 hotel, the $200 fancy dinner, the multiple $40 lunches, more miscellaneous tips than you could shake a stick at, the $125 nightclub excursion, and another $100 at the strip club . . . that’s the same as my pet peeve about saying you made $300 before tipping out. Who cares? It’s the bottom line.
Anyway, I hit my Waterloo on a particular birthday trip to the town. Lost $10,000. That’s right. For a waiter, or most anybody, that’s a lot of money. And I was just one bet away from coming out close to even. I was down, way down. I’d switched to Stoli OJ’s at the Paris Casino. And I mounted a furious, hysterical comeback at the mini Baccarat table. In the space of about an hour I had built back up to about five grand, and I had it all out there on the Bank (I think). It was stacked up like a Tower Of Babel, not all neat, with fives and singles and hundreds all helter skelter in a single tilting tower. And I lost.
Totally trashed in every way, my buddy ran across a hooker walking into the lobby. He was down about five grand. Totally tapped out. The hooker did her hooker thing: acting like she was attracted to us and wanted to party. I wasn’t into it, but my buddy was. Brass tacks came out and she needed $200. Of course we had nothing. The hooker followed my buddy and me to the ATM where he kept putting the same defunct credit card into the machine. And getting it declined. Then she followed us to the pay phones where he called the number on the back of the card. She was leaning against the wall, examining her nails, probably thinking, These guys are a joke!
After he got stiff-armed by the credit card 800 line, my buddy turned to her and asked, ‘You wanna get a drink, anyway?’
‘I gotta go.’
But it’s a new day, and I’m a new man. I brought a book to read, in case I crap out early. Finances simply will not support losing $500, so I will stop short if things don’t go my way. In the past, I had only myself to worry about and no mortgage, so I could always talk myself into another $300 cash advance. Things are different now.
I’m due back Tuesday night so I can be ready to work lunch on Wednesday. Wish me luck, please.