I’m convinced it’s bed bugs when my wife calls while Kai showers. My four year old has the same bumps.
It’s poison ivy.
During our vacation to Mackinac Island I went on an off trail hike with my four year old — we climbed a large hill. tromped through the woods, and pretended to be explorers seeing everything for the first time. That was a lot of fun. Until now. Turns out I’ve gotten both of us poison ivy.
This is because I mistakenly believed that poison ivy couldn’t exist on an island that far north. Clearly, I’m an idiot.
There are probably worse places to be when your wife realizes that you’re responsible for your four year old’s poison ivy outbreak, but a Vegas bachelor party is pretty tough to beat.
My wife is, as you can well imagine, incredibly patient and forgiving. She has to be to put up with me, but this is kind of a disaster. Fortunately, my wife is forgiving and conversation eventually moves to my wife giving me advice.
This is her exact text: “You should just stay in the pool until your flight tomorrow.” One minute later she follows it up, “Stay in the water. Get a snorkel.”
When I climb out of bed, my legs are covered in poison ivy. Fortunately, I’m tan, otherwise I’d look contagious at the pool party.
20. Notwithstanding my poision ivy or Kai’s robbery we’re going to Liquid, the pool at the Aria today.
Kai asks a fateful question as we ride down in the elevator, “Do you think they’ll let me in the pool without my license?”
“Sure,” I say, “it’s not like we’re just barely 21. We’re over thirty and we have a cabana again. They’ll take care of us you’ll be fine.”
21. Everyone rolls out to Aria — Dan is making his first daylight appearance since throwing up yesterday at the pool party.
Not surprisingly, Dan looks incredibly rested, he’s chipper and spry while everyone else looks pretty rough.
Kai stands at the back of the line as we all file in to Liquid. When it’s his turn he explains that his license was stolen. The Liquid pool security asks what other forms of identification he has. Kai empties his pockets. He has a canceled credit card and a YMCA card with no picture.
The security guard shakes his head: “You have to go file a police report at the airport,” he says. “Once you get the police report, we’ll let you in with that.”
22. We berate ourselves for not being smarter and sneaking Kai in to the pool party.
But in our defense it’s been a decade since we had to worry about sneaking anyone in anywhere. We thought that having the cabana would get Kai okayed pretty easily.
Liquid is heaven part two.
Our cabana has its own private pool. From here we can lounge and look out over the hoi polloi crammed into the larger pool. Within two hours the main pool is so crowded you can’t even move. Meanwhile there are waitresses walking around pouring champagne into our mouths while we hang out in the pool.
23. Meanwhile an extremely hungover Kai is now at the Las Vegas police police station.
He files his police report and the officer says the following: “Here’s your report. You need to eat some food and drink lots of water.”
Kai triumphantly returns to the Vegas pool with his police report where the security guards tell him he got the wrong report and won’t let him in.
Kai points out that the form he has will allow him to get on a plane flight back to the Nashville.
The security guard shrugs, “Our security at Liquid is more stringent than the airport.”
Just what you’d hope, it’s easier to get on a plane than go to a pool party.
24. After yesterday’s pool party Adam had to take a pill to restart his heart.
He’s decided to take it easy today.
By noon he is chugging from a champagne bottle while singing along to “Call Me Maybe” and drinking vodka on the rocks.
I worry that his heart may stop in the pool.
25. The Soprano crime family is in one of the cabanas next to us.
This is the only real issue with Liquid, that I’m a bit concerned there might be a hit at any moment.
The Italian mobsters are all in their 50’s, overweight, hairy as hell, and dancing in bathrobes on the couches in front of their cabana.
Within ten minutes of arrival, they also have strippers on the couches with them and they’re doing shots of Patron directly from the bottle.
Did I mention it’s not even one in the afternoon yet?
26. On the other side of us is a collection of Orange county wives.
Every woman in the group has teenage children, 2% body fat, and D cups.
We discuss whether the mobsters are likely to be shot today. Eventually one of the orange county women encourages me to a have a third child. (Yes, we talked about our kids. I am awesome like that).
27. As if the party wasn’t wild enough in our private pool the staff tells us they’ll bring girls up to hang out in the cabana if we’d like.
It’s a bit like being a sultan.
Encore Beach Club offered the same service yesterday.
“Whoever you want, just let me know and I’ll go get them,” says our personal security guard, who has muscles on his cheekbones.
Women rarely say no to the offer.
After all, why would they?
They get to come up to a private pool and drink for free. Basically they get to consume everything you pay for without spending anything themselves. If you’re reading this and thinking, hey, that sounds a lot like my relationship/marriage, well, you have even more evidences, as if you needed it, that hot women have their own rules.
28. Did I mention there’s also a glass wall that separates us from the main pool below?
We’ve all managed to neglect sunscreen so Ben and Adam borrow some from a group of hot girls on the other side of the glass wall. They come back to tell us that the group is from Los Angeles and the girl they borrowed the sunscreen from is named Whitney. In fact, Whitney actually rubs the sunscreen on Ben’s back. (You gotta make sure you’re completely covered, right?)
Tardio nods then immediately returns to the cabana to consult his iPhone.
Two minutes later, he’s pulled up a photo on his phone and wants me to look at the picture he’s found. He points at the girl on the other side of the glass divide and then down at the picture on his phone.
“I think that’s Whitney Port,” he says, “from “The Hills” and “The City.”
Tardio occupies a rare slice of the American populace — a 33 year old male law partner who has also seen every episode of “Laguna Beach, “The Hills,” and “The City” multiple times.
But he’s right, Whitney Port will post this photo from the Liquid pool on her blog.
She’s wearing a bikini top that manages to show fourteen different sideboob angles. Her bikini top is like a NASA boob project.
Not that I have ever watched all of these shows either, but I immediately start looking around for Audrina and Justin Bobby.
I ask him what he would have thought if he’d known back when “The City” was on that Whitney Port would be at his bachelor party. (Yes, I’m defining “at” very broadly here).
Tardio is silent for a moment, staring off into the wild melee in the pool beneath us. Then he says, “I think this is the best day of my life.”
He isn’t joking.
In fact, just about everyone at the bachelor party will say the same thing today.
Except for Kai, who is now back at Caesar’s lying in the bed by himself.
He sends this exact text to the group at the same moment that we realize Whitney from “The Hills” is here.
It will be his final text message of the day: “I quit. At life.”
29. We debate extending an offer to Whitney and her friends to come drink with us, but we’re afraid that this group might shoot us down.
After all, when you’ve hung out in Brody Jenner’s apartment, what’s the big deal with a Liquid cabana?
I text Kai that if he can’t get in to any club, I’ll gamble with him tonight. Tardio looks over as I’m texting.
“Tell him,” he says, “that this place is awful.”
30. Completely upstaging Whitney from “The Hills,”, Bobby Sura arrives, wearing a different fedora today. Sura also has brought his own 14 to compete with Veronica, our waitress at Encore Beach Club, for the title of hottest girl we will see while in Vegas.
Sura’s 14 drapes herself all over him in the cabana. She’s wearing a black bikini and her body is jaw-dropping. Shortly after arriving she begins to dance on the cabana couches.
For a while, we discuss the 1997 slam dunk title, which was won by Kobe, and featured Sura.
Here’s the 1997 contest on YouTube.
I know you just watched that too.
As we discuss the 1997 slam dunk contest, Sura’s 14, who also has several other hot girls with her, gets the other girls to dance in bikinis on our cabana couches with her.
I turn to Tardio, “The Biblical Heaven can’t be like this,” I say. “Which means if I ever get there it’s going to be real let down.”
31. We start doing whiskey shots.
Which is an absolute disaster.
Because when you’re so drunk that you can’t even taste the whiskey shots you know you’re in trouble. (In fact, if you’re over the age of thirty and even taking whiskey shots for a reason other than you just sold your company to a Japanese conglomerate, you should probably know you’re in trouble.)
At about this time I look down into the water and realize that my erstwhile red poison ivy spots have now turned white.
This is vaguely alarming, but I’m so drunk I can barely comprehend why this might be an issue. In fact, if I looked down and saw that I was missing a foot right now, I don’t think I could even feel any pain.
32. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that it’s 110 degrees or so and there is no shade near the pool.
It takes approximately two minutes to dry once you get out of the pool. And the party has gotten so intense that the Real Housewives of Orange County have started soaking towels in the pool so they can put the towels down on the ground and dance on them without burning their feet.
I’m so drunk I haven’t even realized how hot the ground is underneath my feet.
Even with Whitney Port’s sunscreen help, most of our group is insanely sunburned and while I’m standing in the pool I start to think I might actually pass out there. Then I think, this has to happen all the time, I’ll be fine, they won’t let me drown here. Really, I thought that. Welcome to Liquid.
33. You know how when you’re really drunk four hours passes in what seems like ten minutes.
I remember asking what time it was at 2:30 and the next time I’m aware of the time it’s 6:30, the music is off, several massive bottles of Grey Goose vodka are lined up in a row, and we’re opening the safe to get all our belongings and head back to the hotel.
Only, Adam’s phone is missing. And Adam is not happy about this.
Despite the fact that everyone’s wallet is untouched and everyone else’s phone is fine, Adam becomes convinced that his phone was stolen.
Adam turns into the Incredible Hulk, raging and storming around the hotel pool and then the Aria lobby. “Who the f— steals somebody else’s phone, that s— isn’t cool!”
For a moment, I think he might kill someone. But we manage to extricate him from the pool. For the rest of the evening, Adam leaves increasingly violent voicemails on his phone, hopeful that whoever answers the phone will hear them. Around two in the morning, as he’s telling the story of his stolen phone for the hundredth time at the craps table, the craps dealer will turn to Adam and say, “Why don’t you just shut the f— up and buy a new phone?”
By the next morning, Adam will acknowlege that he probably just got drunk and lost his phone. But that won’t be until the morning.
Egged on by Adam’s anger and continued drinking, every half hour or so a member of the group will ask Adam to text someone.
This sets off his rage anew.
“I can’t f—– text, someone stole my phone!” he’ll scream.
34. Back at Caesar’s a morose Kai, laying in the bed, is contemplative and dejected.
“I just can’t party like I used to,” he says, “I feel like I let everyone down.”
I’m so drunk I just pass out on the bed, face first, swimsuit still on.
At around one in the morning I wake up and see Kai is still sleeping beside me. He has spent less than two hours inside an actual Vegas club. I contemplate getting up and leaving him for a solo meeting with the rest of the group who are now out at Haze nightclub, but then I think, what am I going to do, dance with a glowstick in a nightclub? At 33, I’m over Vegas nightclubs with a bunch of guys in tow, I’ll just focus on the pool parties.
This seems like great maturity, a revelation of stupendous wisdom.
Thirty minutes later my phone buzzes with an incoming text message: “Rajon Rondo is here smoking a blunt on the center of the dance floor.”
I punch the pillows.
Damn, I should have been there.
Instead I put on the Sunday British Open, just teeing off.
Kai wakes up early and decides to try and take the early morning flight back to Nashville.
A couple of hours later I go into the bathroom and see he’s forgotten his contacts and all of his toiletries. I pack this up for him.
35. I pass back out and wake up to read on Twitter that Joe Paterno’s statue has been taken down.
My poison ivy is itching like crazy now and my bumps have turned an uncomfortable color.
So I try and buy calamine lotion in the Caesar’s gift shop which, miraculously, they have. Seriously, do people get poison ivy in Las Vegas all the time?
Then I walk over to the Palazzo sports book and put a grand on Kentucky to win less than 4.5 games, $100 on South Carolina to win the BCS title, $100 on Tennessee to do the same, and $100 on the Titans to win the division.
Tardio, bleary eyed and still drunk at around 11 joins me just after the epic collapse of Adam Scott. While I’m in the casino, someone will dynamic wager using Cantor Gamings in game wagering system. A $70 bet on Ernie Els to win pays out nearly $40k.
Tardio, a Kentucky alum, is disgusted that I’ve put a thousand dollars on Kentucky to win less than 4.5.
Out of principle he puts $100 on the over.
36. Kai texts me that he can’t get on the early flight because his credit cards are cancelled. And he can’t withdraw any cash because his debit cards are also cancelled.
So he’s just sitting at the airport.
Then he calls me because he’s forgotten all of his “club” shirts, which he left in the hotel closet, ironed and unworn.
As a final gift to Kai, who has completed one of the worst trips to Vegas ever, we recover his shirts from the lost and found and throw them into a backpack.
37. With an afternoon flight still to come, we hit the tables at the Bellagio.
After an hour of decent success at the tables, I put $200 on the table for my final hand of the weekend.
I draw a pair of 2’s.
The dealer shows a five.
So I have to split the 2’s. Then once I split the 2’s I take one of the 2’s to a 17 and leave it there. With the other hand I get another two and then a seven for a total of 11, bringing out another $200 on the table for a double down.
Yep, $600 on my final blackjack hand of the trip. The odds are in my favor, but that’s a lot of money on the table, enough to completely wipe me out.
Our dealer, Mabel, has been working as a dealer in Vegas for the past 38 years. So she feels absolutely no need to move fast. She pulls cards out of the shoot slowly, leaves my final card turned over so I can’t see it.
Showing a five, Mabel, iron-willed grey-haired Vegas dealer all-star, doesn’t draw a bust card, instead she has an ace, a soft six or a sixteen.
My stomach drops.
She has to hit and the odds aren’t necessarily in my favor any longer.
Face card, face card!
She draws a six, now she’s sitting at a hard 12.
Uh oh, there are lots of ways for this to go now.
This is getting ominous. Late on Friday night I had $400 on the table and a 20 against the dealer showing a six. The dealer drew a 21 on her sixth card.
Could it really happen again?
Next comes a two for Mabel. I’m sweating bullets and she’s still just at 14 now.
I could still be screwed, but I could also sweep over a grand off the table if she’d just draw a face card.
Slowly, so painfully slowly, Mabel draws another card from the deck.
A four for an 18.
I’ve lost one hand by a card, but what about my other hand, the one with $400 riding on a single card.
Mabel slowly flips over the final card of my Vegas weekend, the single card above my 11… a king!
A 21 to close.
I take my $800 off the table and we’re off for the airport. It’s the perfect end to the most fun weekend of my life.
38. Our airport cab driver answers a question by saying, “Well, to understand the answer to that question, you have to understand a little about how human trafficking works out here.”
Welcome to Vegas.
39. On the flight back to Nashville, Ben turns to me and says, “You know for what we spent on the pool parties, we could have built our own in-ground pool in Nashville.”
But Ben’s using logic, something that has no business being utilized on any trip to Vegas.
Tardio is on the wi-fi now, scrolling through Twitter, as he sits on the aisle seat across from me.
“Do you think,” he asks, “that Whitney Port remembers us?”
“I don’t know about that,” I say, “but I bet she remembers Bobby F—— Sura.”
In a Southwest jet somewhere over the Grand Canyon we give each other a non-ironic fist pound.
Tardio is silent for a time and then pulls off his headphones leans across the aisle and says, “I think we’ve got five more good years of this, easy.”
He said the same thing at the end of my bachelor party.
That was eight years ago.
“Definitely,” I say, furiously scratching the white poison ivy on my forearm “definitely.”