I went directly from SEC Media Days to Las Vegas for the bachelor party of my friend Tardio, a 33 year old lawyer in Nashville. There were eight of us in total, six lawyers, three SEC school graduates represented, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss.
Seven of us are 31 are older, one of us was 26.
I have changed all names except for Tardio’s and mine. I did this to protect their professional identities. Tardio’s is already tattered thanks to “Dixieland Delight” and “On Rocky Top.” Plus, he’s a partner now and it was his bachelor party.
This was our story told in Dixieland Delight numerical style.
1. There are few feelings better than climbing on a plane headed for Las Vegas.
I’m on a Birmingham plane — going straight from the last day of SEC media days to Las Vegas — and as we roll down the runway Alabama fans start a “Roll Tide,” cheer.
On a random flight to Vegas.
Seriously, Bama fans are unbelievable.
The man next to me is a really nice cattle farmer from northern Alabama. It’s a four hour flight. He has brought nothing to read. Zero entertainment of any kind.
Who does this?
An hour from Vegas when I’ve finished writing my mailbag — Yes, Southwest has wireless — and my newspapers, we start a fascinating conversation about cattle breeding. Heretofore my entire knowledge about cattle comes from the book and movie “Lonesome Dove” — which incidentally you absolutely have to read and watch. Augustus McCrae should be your life coach too. Did you know that they still geld cattle with knives right after birth? Talk about a tough way to make a living.
2. The moment we come down the escalator at the Vegas airport, someone is standing with a sign for “L. Holtz.”
Chris, whose wife is back home pregnant with twins, makes a joke about Lou Holtz being the guy who the driver is waiting for.
But what are the odds that it’s actually Lou Holtz, right?
I mean, there are lots of men or women in America whose name could be L. Holtz, right?
Three minutes later Lou Holtz comes down the escalator wearing a Notre Dame shirt covered by a Mr. Rogers sweater.
This seems like a perfect omen for a Vegas bachelor party weekend.
3. We’re staying at Caesar’s so we gamble for a few hours and then head out to Sapphire, the self-proclaimed largest strip club in America.
Larry, a plaintiff’s lawyer in Houston who is exactly like what you would expect a plaintiff’s lawyer in Houston to be like, looks at my feet.
I’m wearing flip flops.
In addition to being a plaintiff’s lawyer Larry also represents a major national strip club chain in employment disputes. Seriously. Several years ago I was out with friends in Charlotte and we decided to hit a strip club. I texted him to ask his advice on where to go and he texted back immediately.
We should go the strip club that he represents and ask for Marco.
Thirty minutes later we’re at a VIP table and the owner of the club is bringing us a free bottle of champagne. The strippers were amazed because the club never gives away free bottles to guys in flip flops on the main floor.
So, yeah, Larry is like the strip club whisperer and it pays to know him.
Now he’s staring at my feet.
“Change your shoes,” he says, when he sees me in flip flops. “No strippers want to see your dirty feet.”
This can’t be true. Naked strippers wobbling around on clear high heels can’t really care what footwear I’ve chosen, right? So I don’t listen to him.
Plus, I’ve neglected to pack socks. (It’s time for a confession, after eight years of marriage I don’t pack for myself anymore. This is because my wife doesn’t trust me to pack the right things. But this trip I packed for myself because my wife is still on vacation in Michigan with our boys. I also forget toothpaste, a comb, and sunglasses).
As we leave the hotel, who walks through the main entrance at Caesar’s?
Another great omen. Even without Laura Bush in tow.
Who wants to sex the Mutombo?
Lou Holtz, clearly.
4. I find it hard to believe that any straight man would consider Sapphire anything other than heaven.
There are approximately 100 strippers working the floor, 90 of whom are absolutely gorgeous. Yes, I know, I know, ladies. Are these women likely addicted to drugs and/or alcohol while simultaneously nursing incredibly devious and all-encompassing psychological issues?
But does this impact their boobs on a Thursday night in Las Vegas?
After an hour inside Sapphire, a stripper from Thailand leans over and whispers softly into my ear, “Why you not wear shoes?”
5. Everything is going bachelor party smooth at the strip club — i.e. not that smooth at all, but no one has been kicked out or had their credit card rejected for excessive use — until Chris comes back to the table with a confession.
He accidentally lit himself on fire with his own cigarette during a lap dance.
The strippers exact words were, “Oh my God, you’re on fire!” he says.
“Do strippers think it’s cool when you light yourself on fire?” Tardio asks.
Chris’s shirt has burn holes in it. When we return to the hotel, he throws it in the trash.
6. Everyone is in bed by 4:30.
Aside from Chris lighting himself on fire, no issues have arisen in the first day at all.
About seven in the morning, I wake up with what appears to be itchy bug bites all around my ankles and on my forearms.
This is ominous.
Of course, I blame the strippers.
7. We have a pool day scheduled at Encore Beach Club.
To be more specific, we have a cabana reserved with a $2500 minimum. This is probably the only way eight guys with no girls are getting in to the place at all. Tardio refuses to eat anything in the morning so that he can put all his food money on the minimum at the pool. Meanwhile Chris and Dan, a Kentucky accountant growing a mustache for the trip who also brought four different UK 2012 national championship t-shirts to Vegas, are eating breakfast somewhere in Caesar’s.
“We have a $2500 minimum, eat breakfast at the cabana,” Tardio fumes.
Meanwhile, I have to buy sunglasses because according to Tardio, being in Las Vegas without sunglasses is unacceptable. So I try on several pairs while he offers feedback.
I just assume an Alabama fan will post video of this sunglass feedback as evidence that I’m gay.
I have to admit, it would be very strong evidence.
8. We arrive at the Encore Beach Club cabana around noon.
Flat screen television with the British Open on, misters spraying water at the entrance, long couch, personal safe, balcony, and private lounge chairs to look out over the pool.
As if that wasn’t enough, our cabana waitress, Veronica, is a 14 on a scale of 1-10.
At one point we gather in a circle and debate what could be changed about Veronica to make her hotter.
No one can come up with a single thing.
What’s more, just about every girl at the Encore Beach Club looks like Veronica’s sorority sister. It’s simply amazing.
9. We start drinking and receive a lecture from our personal security guard.
“Just remember,” he says, “drink lots of fluids. It’s really hot out here, and the alcohol can get to you fast.”
Tardio rolls his eyes, “We’re 33. This isn’t the first time we’ve drank at a pool.”
Fast forward four hours, the Encore Beach main pool is closed because someone threw up in it. Thankfully, it was none of us. Meanwhile, Dan, the Kentucky accountant who also happens to have more hair on his chest than any other ten men combined at the pool, is passed out on the cabana couch with his 2012 Kentucky national title shirt on.
This is bad because passing out in the cabana is frowned upon.
It gets worse.
A few minutes later he wakes up and begins to puke in the trash can.
This is immediate grounds for removal from Encore Beach Club. Chris makes the case for him to say, “He’s not that drunk, he just has a really weak stomach.”
Dan is escorted from the pool premises.
Veronica shakes her head, a 14 with a frown. “Are none of you going with him?” she asks.
We’re all silent as we watch him walk solemnly past one gorgeous girl after another, the bikini clad Bataan death march.
Tardio shakes his head, “Have you seen this party?” he asks.
10. We all agree that Dan is 33 and will make it home fine.
Veronica is disappointed in our friendship bona fides which, I think, makes us all feel worse than Dan going home alone. We’ve disappointed Veronica, this means we’ve failed at life.
Dan does make it home fine and passes out in the hotel room. He will sleep for 14 consecutive hours.
By Friday at six in the afternoon, one man is down.
11. Dan is passed out, but you know who isn’t?
Former ten year NBA vet and 1997 slam dunk contest contestant Bobby Sura who is, of course, good friends with strip club whisperer Larry and comes to hang out in our cabana.
Sura arrives at Encore Beach Club wearing a fedora and a swimsuit.
He and Larry met in an intramural Houston lawyer’s league which Sura, somehow played in, destroying all legal opposition.
Quoth Larry, “I mean, he just killed people out there. No lawyer could stay in front of him.”
12. Leaving the Encore Beach Club, Tardio, me and Adam play blackjack at the tables by the pool.
The table mininum is $15 and we are all drunk beyond belief. Which means we’re playing the table minimum.
Every time our dealer starts a new hand with $45 total on the table, I say, “We’re about to break Steve Wynn!” or “Is Steve Wynn watching us on camera right now? I want him to see the guys who are about to bring his casino to its knees.”
This goes on for a half hour.
Our dealer is not amused.
Spoiler alert: We do not break Steve Wynn or his casino.
13. We’re back at the hotel by eight.
While we’ve lost Dan, additional reinforcements have arrived, Ben and Kai, two lawyers who worked a full Friday and then hopped flights in the afternoon.
I’m having a good run on the blackjack tables, but have hit my maximum withdrawal amount for both Thursday and Friday already — hint, this is a pretty good way to limit how much you can lose at the tables — and all my available cash is on the table.
But I’ve got aces to split against the dealer showing a five and need to get as much money on the table as I can.
I need to borrow $200 from him.
He hands me the money, the dealer busts, and I have my biggest win of the trip, $800 on one hand.
This will be the best moment of Kai’s Vegas weekend.
14. I go upstairs, change out of my swimsuit — which I’ve been wearing all day — and lay down on the bed.
Then I realize if I close my eyes, I’m not getting back up.
We’re all very drunk and passing out for the night is a real threat.
So I head back downstairs to meet Kai and Ben, who are ready to go out for the night and are gambling in the meantime.
Others aren’t so lucky with their hotel room visits.
In fact, Adam, a double SEC grad, returns to his hotel room to find that his heart has stopped beating.
15. Seriously, his heart stopped.
It’s a condition he has, every now and then his heart stops beating and then resumes an irregular beating pattern. The wild party at Encore Beach Club nearly killed him.
So without telling anyone he takes his special heart medication and passes out for the night.
That’s complete faith in medicine.
Later we’ll debate what would have happened if he’d died on the bachelor party. Do we all fly back with the body? Do you get an airfare discount if a friend dies on a bachelor party and you have to go home early? Do some people get to stay? If so, what’s the protocol for who goes home and who stays?
Ben, presently gambling, is his hotel roommate, but won’t return to the room until six on Saturday morning. Factoring in sleep time Adam could have been dead for nearly a full day before anyone even noticed.
Fortunately, Adam’s heart returns to its regular beating and he doesn’t die.
But that’s all in the future, no one knows that his heart stopped beating because he doesn’t tell anyone. That’s two men down.
Tardio also goes silent meaning that three of the six men who went to Encore Beach Club for the party are incommunicado by nine at night.
16. This means they aren’t responding to our group text messages.
Which are arriving at a frantic rate.
Larry, the strip club whisperer, has set up group texting capabilities so we can all stay in touch.
Approximately 80% of these texts are insults. The other 20% are location based.
So I find Kai and Ben at the Caesar’s blackjack tables.
I go down $800 then come back up $1400 over the next couple of hours of gambling. But something else is happening, my stomach is at war with me. See, I haven’t eaten much all day and I’ve consumed a massive amount of vodka and cranberry in the cabana. Along with a pitcher of something called a watermelon mojito. (Yes, this is what I chose to drink. We had bottle service and went vodka and whiskey).
By midnight, I’m not that drunk — by Vegas standards anyway — but my stomach is killing me.
I think it’s because I had more cranberry juice than I usually drink in a year. (Good news: My bladder is in impeccable shape for 2012).
And at about 12:30 I’ve got major diarrhea issues brewing.
Like, I might shit myself in the casino level issues.
Kai looks over at me as we’re playing blackjack, “You look really rough,” he says.
I hop up from the table, cash out to chips but am too worried about crapping myself to even cash them out, and speed walk through Caesar’s praying that I’m not going to shit myself. This would be bad on many levels, among them, thanks to my packing inadequacies I only brought one pair of long pants to Vegas. By the time I get to the elevators, I’m sweating. When the elevator doors open, I take off at a full sprint for the hotel room, yank open the door, rush to the toilet and explode.
I’ve made it.
But I”m out for the night.
My phone lights up with a group text.
Tardio has just woken up and everyone is planning on hitting 1 Oak at the Mirage. But I’m not risking diarrhea in a Vegas club. So I’m in bed by one.
17. At 4:40 I’m woken from a drunken slumber by Kai, attempting to put his key card in the door.
You know your friends are really drunk when they can’t even manage to put the hotel key card in the right place. Our hotel room sounds like it’s under assault by small children banging on the door. It must take him forty tries to get inside. He stumbles in, looks down at me, and says, “You can’t trust anyone in this world!”
I ask him what’s the matter and he says, “Never mind. I’ll tell you in the morning.”
I know the story is going to be crazy, but woken up in the early morning I’m so busy itching everywhere that I can barely focus on anything else.
Kai proceeds to take off all of his clothes and then climbs into bed — we have double beds — naked.
“Why are you sleeping naked?” I ask.
“Because the world is a horrible place,” he says.
(Part two will be up tomorrow).