Wednesday, May 27, 2009

'Lost Wages'

Nothing serves as a reminder of the fact that you have grown older quite like when things don't look the same as when you first saw them. Maybe I'm a little young to be talking like this, but it is something that enters my head every time I end up in Las Vegas.

The first time I remember going to Vegas, I was young and on a family vacation visiting relatives, staying at Circus Circus. Maybe it's more my young age at the time than anything else, but I remember how the building seemed to tower above everything else around it. From the hotel room, there was a view of Las Vegas in its entirety- I felt like I was on top of the world.

Ever since then, it seems like there's been a newer, bigger hotel/casino coming up every time I'm back. The old casinos that used to dominate the skyline are diminutive compared to the new ones that sprout up like mushrooms.

The last time I was in Vegas, it was for only a day and hardly to have fun. I looked out the window in the top floor of Treasure Island onto a vastly different sight from that of my childhood. First of all, the view was completely dominated by one building- a gigantic gold-plated behemoth with the word "TRUMP" written in block letters on top. It was like a symbol of Las Vegas excess.

So, here's a question for you: Short men go to the gym to bulk up. Those less endowed in certain areas are apt to buy nice cars. So what sort of secret could possibly be so severe that Donald Trump would require that much compensation?

Anyways, after getting over the daze brought on by the Trump tower, I started to look for other landmarks. And there it was- Circus Circus. It was tiny- like the casino that dwarfs would call 'shrimp'. It could have been your friendly neighborhood mom 'n pop hotel- in a "Drive down main street and take a right after the hardware store" kind of neighborhood. That's how pathetic the building looked compared to the new shiny hotels that litter the skyline.

...Kinda like watching an old, washed-up ballplayer (*cough* Brett Favre).

But Circus Circus was never that great, anyway (threw too many interceptions).

Anyway, back to Vegas- I've seen several articles online within the past few months with titles that go something like, "5 Recession-proof Industries". They talk about industries like health-care which tend to do just as well, or even better when the economy takes a downturn. I wonder if we should add the gambling industry to that list.

Why? Well, maybe the growth of Las Vegas is proof enough. Of course, all those new shiny casinos probably had their finances in order since long before this downturn, but I still don't see how they can continue to fill those rooms. Why would people be so keen on throwing their money away when its already hard to come by? Do they actually expect to MAKE money this way?

Or maybe the casinos are being supported by laid-off wall-street traders who need other avenues to fulfill their gambling fix now that they can't do it at work anymore?

...Just a thought

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