Chumps & Busters

The first two weekends of September were prime times to observe a Las Vegas peculiarity.

During workweeks the city hosts conventions which attract the expense account crowd. There will be other visitors as well, of course, however business people predominate.

Weekends, though, the focus shifts away from serious travelers. Las Vegas becomes the purview and playground of “Vegas for Vegas!” types. Young coastal Californians account for the greatest portion of these hordes.

No doubt the overwhelming majority of these youthful adults comport themselves inconspicuously. But this isn’t about them. This is about the oblivious boobs and braying cheapskates jamming Las Vegas Boulevard when they’re not cutting the fool inside the thoroughfare’s establishments.

I don’t know what service personnel and hoteliers call them, but I see them as chumps and busters.

The first pair of September weekends attracted an even larger amount of such visitors. First, Labor Day Weekend. Second, Floyd Mayweather’s allegedly last fight occurred as well as having UNLV at home against UCLA in football that same evening swelled the numbers.

While prized because of their volume, the less circumspect among them aren’t any kind of prizes.

Perhaps back in their California habitats they conduct themselves with discretion. Maybe only after crossing into Nevada do they undergo transformations into the worst caricatures of the ugliest Americans possible. Mind not all are Americans. Vegas attracts a fair portion of overseas overnight trade, too. A sizable number of them have managed to acquire these traits in short order. Probably through watching a lot of American TV programing.

Who doesn’t know how enlightening that can be?

Usually a Mayweather fight jams the Strip and nearby properties. The welterweight champion’s a reliably huge draw.

Having announced retirement before his recent 49th fight, mobs were expected to witness what ought have been a cherry atop his sundae. While Mayweather concluded his career undefeated, his crowd remained distant. Maybe because the tilt had been scheduled too close to Labor Day’s three-day weekend. Probably because his last fight against Manny Pacquiao lacked drama, interest, and pugilism.

Rather than mixing it up with a top contender the champ hand-picked his opponent, Andre Berto. While not a tomato can, Berto wasn’t going to be scintillating nor much of a challenge. Even suckers will be suckered only so far. So for Mayweather’s farewell his less than faithful fans stayed away in droves.

Nonetheless more than enough made their way to town. To be seen, surely, and if they saw anything it was news to them for they were here solely to project.

Indeed, these sorts wend ways to Vegas in order to caper, cut the fool, and skylark. Doesn’t this city encourage outrageousness? The cure for being an introvert? A drugged and drunken weekend in fabulous Las Vegas!

Here, the lowly become outsized, if not altogether huge. Funny thing nobody calls out others on their gross inflations. Their fellow narcissists themselves are too busy posing and declaiming to comment. Or better, have seen a gesture or heard an idiom, and after appropriating it, shove it through their own refining process, and – voila! – whole new patterns of stupid behavior or silly speech.

While the show amuses or astounds, and occasionally also angers, its actors and actresses reap one universal pan: they’re rude and unmindful tightwads. Not at the noble clubs or high-end retailers where entry or purchase demands long green, but on the backend with the personnel, the clerks and servers.

Stories abound about how zircon-sporting duds and roving packs of too many overweight women wearing too little dress material routinely economize their “big weekends” by stiffing those doing the grunt work. Perhaps theirs are only further economizations.

After all, the gaudy jewelry worn by men loses its sparkle under sobriety and decent light. The “gold” accompanying these baubles threatens to deposit green splotches on skin at any time. And which of these self-advertised “Big Willies” doesn’t aspire to be a Petey Wheatstraw? Either way each comes across as a chump.

Twenty-percenters do not fill this crowd. At least foreigners, well-known alligator-armed types as they are, round off the bill. (Why return home with all those American coins?)

But here in Las Vegas, too many weekenders from the Coast are quite deficient in all gratuities departments. Give this to the foreigners: in their own countries service people are well compensated. Beyond quite exceptional service, customers have little need to give tips and personnel have few expectations of getting them.

Of course those from abroad know it’s different in America. But situational ignorance leaves more vacation money to be blown at the gaming tables. One must prioritize!

Elsewhere those hustling on the service industry’s lower end are seen as working in a profession. Here, waiting is often viewed as a get-by job until the upward mobility and relief of a better position. The disdain through which we regard certain kinds of labor belies the nobility inherent in any sort of honest toil.

Just casually glimpsed, Californians have defined down being cheapskates. They’re parsimonious tippers. Few have heard the adage “Money is like manure. It works better when it’s spread around.” More so when they’ve had ya-ya’s at a club. Here’s the formula: the more spent on table service, the lower the gratuity’s percentage.

When West Coast arrivals bray about how much their evenings cost, whoever schlepped the potables, bussed the table, swept the detritus from beneath their feet or table, can usually expect bupkis – goat shit – for his or her efforts. While those jobs do brush up against glam, working in a fab site, often hearing the freshest beats, catching beautiful people unguarded, comes the added realization that the over-coddled, overserved, and overentitled bear mistaken conceits about their places on our human chain.

Are not skinny jeans, sleeve dresses and their cousins the shoulder and sheath styles the most insidious fashions ever perpetrated upon an undiscerning, indiscriminate public? Hasn’t the democratization of design unleashed massive embarrassment in the delusional falsehood of “you look good in that”?

Maybe I had to relocate to Vegas, or perhaps the instances weren’t as numerous and pronounced back East, but the propensity for zaftig female Vegas visitors to doll themselves in unsuitable club wear injures eyes.

I always believed fashion intends to flatter. At best, the wearer and her attire should mutually enhance one another.

However, in our anything for everybody age styles that complement shapely outlines transform themselves into Vegas abominations on young women who’ve lost control of their figures. Fat rolls and constrictive support garments ably conspire to disrupt the outfits’ sleek lines. Contours aren’t silhouetted but bubbly topography is.

The question doesn’t become what compelled the wearer to buy the apparel. It becomes “How did she stuff all that mess in there?”

Maybe heavy recreational drug use impairs vision and copious alcohol consumption and distorts mood. Rarely does any truth or clarity emerge from the fogs we ingest, inhale, and imbibe.

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