Las Vegas is the only city in America where you can get food poisoning from eating pussy. Sure, the $7.99 ALL YOU CAN EAT advertisements make it sound like a pretty good deal but you've got to remember, at that price, you're going to walk away with a belly-ache.
The source of my food poisoning was much more innocent, though I still can't really pinpoint it—was it the nearly-cooked scrambled eggs in our hotel's $12 Fear Factor Breakfast Buffet or my insane decision to order smoked sable in a shopping mall, from a waiter who had clearly dyed his hair, eyebrows and goatee Magician Black™? In any case, it caused my head to droop at the table during the grand finale dinner for my friend, Cloud, at his Las Vegas bachelor party. As everyone powered through 14 oz. steak slabs, I pecked at the first three bites of Mahi Mahi. (This an entrée known in American steakhouses as either "Ladies' Choice" or "Mr. Panties" or "The Jew" depending on your region of the country.) Instead of going to a strip club to contract diseases or re-establish my dignity, I headed straight back to the hotel and spent the evening shivering and sweating in my Westin® Heavenly Bed®. (On the subject of this bed, my friend Gregg wondered quite correctly if it was a little too comfortable. I understand what the Westin Hotel was trying to do with this bed, but it felt a little desperate. Sleeping in the bed was like being in a relationship with someone who likes you much more than you like him/her. "Just stay one more minute! I LOVE HUGGING YOU, SUPER CUTIE!!!" Crazy nervous laughter/tears, etc. All that comfort was a little off-putting. The bed was holding me back.)
The next morning I woke up feeling like someone had kickboxed my kidneys all night long. I guess they were just working overtime to expel all the poisons I'd ingested the previous day. I couldn't stand up, couldn't fall asleep, and even the usually soothing sounds of the McLaughlin Group proved noisome, grating, and elderly. (By the way, it's 2006. So why does the McLaughlin Group still look like it was recorded on Betamax by members of the high school AV club? It's weird to watch current events show that looks like archival footage.) The only thing that could rouse me was the increasingly frequent bathroom alarm firing in my brain.
In fact, the only way I could scrape myself out of Heaven® was through Cloud's special delivery package of Immodium. Immodium should be illegal. That might be regarded as an unfair assessment of the medicine, particularly since it was the only thing capable of getting me on an airplane home, but I really do believe it. This medicine works in the most unnatural, and physiologically counter-intuitive ways. It basically tells your body, "Hey, I know you're trying really hard to expunge all of those toxins but what would you say to this? I was thinking maybe you could keep all that poison inside you for another week or so, just kind of festering there, because, to be honest, this guy's gotta make a flight. ENJOY!" That's what Immodium does. My body's complete reversal was so swift that it actually shocked me and I'm guessing that single dose of Immodium probably just stripped three years off my lifespan.
I had a really nice time at the bachelor party, insulated against the seedier parts of Las Vegas. (Though there was a very long, thoughtful, and detailed discussion about how to get some livestock into our hotel room. No one was certain how to approach this subject, though all agreed it was definitely approachable in Las Vegas. My suggestion was to create a comfortable line of questions with the hotel concierge, beginning with, "What's your hotel's policy on pets?") In a way, the food poisoning was a streak of good luck. My illness caused me to avoid the awkwardness and discomfort of confronting many of the city's more renowned pleasures—hookers, strippers, blackjack, prime rib buffet bars, drinking cocktails from a large football-shaped cup, M&M's world, and letting Danny Gans come in your hair. In the end, it was a pretty chaste vacation, but there were still some things that, to quote their tourism campaign, "stayed in Vegas." And by "some things" I mean 34 gallons of my poisoned excrement.