(We sent our boy Ian Cheesman to Las Vegas thanks to the help of the good people at Harley Davidson to experience everything the city has to offer. This is what he came back with. There’s butts in walls and a lion.)
An IM from Fortey is not usually grounds for celebration. Most days its just him passing along yet another update from Holytaco’s “Accounts Deliverable” department:
It’s a little obnoxious, but that’s far more tolerable than the clumsy sexual harassment I otherwise endure from him. However, this day would prove to be different:
For the life of me I couldn’t understand why they’d hold such a seemingly epic weekend in some unknown midwestern hamlet called “Las Vegas”. However, since I never turn down airline peanuts as a matter of principle, I agreed to go along:
One look at the trip itinerary showed me that this wasn’t just bluster. Harley-Davidson, the font from which all two-wheeled manliness springs, wished to recruit a select team of the doughiest internet writers they could unearth and thrust them into a weekend designed to beat the masculinity into them. I quickly gathered my travel essentials: coke balloons, 1 change of underwear, 1 galvanized washboard (in case said underwear requires laundering), 1 memory card stocked with interracial pornography, 1 tube of lubricant, 1 back-up memory card stocked with interracial pornography, and a toothbrush.
(While we’re on the topic, how is it that I can now carry entire volumes of pornography on something no bigger than a nickel and yet lube technology requires me to carry a totally conspicuous vial? Get on that, Science.)
As the Las Vegas strip came into focus from the compact comfort of my Southwest Flight, I slowly began to realize that I was about to participate in some crazy, unhinged Gonzo journalism. It was pretty exciting because to the best of my knowledge no one has ever tried that with Vegas before.
Though if you want to nitpick, this technically *might* count
After exiting a flight completely devoid of comedic episodes (what the fuck, LV? This article isn’t going to write itself…) I arrived at MGM Grand, Las Vegas’ tribute to classic Hollywood. The theme is apropos for a town that is often a landing strip for stars beyond their prime.
“She’s a little bit Cataracts, I’m a little bit Rheumatoid Arthritis”
The old timey Hollywood motif was mostly manifested via B&W headshots of people I didn’t recognize. I’m sure these former darlings of the silver screen would be thrilled to know they’re now relegated to an eternity of casting a judgemental gaze over a Las Vegas hotel bed:
“I’ve seen things, man. Shit no one should EVER see…”
I took a moment to freshen up (i.e. extract some coke balloons) and then headed to back to the lobby to grab a ride to the weigh-ins for UFC 143. I was a bit rushed, but I made time to provide a floral offering on the throne of Lionesus, Feline God Of Gambling Windfalls and Massively Gaudy Golden Things.
Fans of the fight game recognize the weigh-in as a requisite part of pre-match hyping. Everyone else has figured out that the entire event is highly orchestrated attempt to not make wiry men disrobing onstage to the delight of hundreds of cheering guys as homoerotic as it should be.
From there we made our way to the Las Vegas Harley-Davidson superstore, or at least we would have were it not for a stretch hummer blocking access to our transportation. In the driver’s defense he clearly wanted to move the behemoth out of the way, but he couldn’t safely depart the curb without clipping the half-dozen guys in Affliction shirts having douchegasms around the car.
“Dude, do you know how much snizz I’d score in that ride, dude?”
Given the size of the store they must either sell lots of motorcycles or extraordinarily large ones.
This would probably be an opportune moment to mention that I knew virtually nothing about motorcycles when I got there. That didn’t worry me too much because, like any good reporter, I had formed my opinion of Harley-Davidson riders well in advance of the story. I won’t detail my prejudice here, but lets just say that this sign on the door didn’t do much to dispel my bias:
This is why the Harley-Davidson “Boot Camp” they put us through is such a good program. It’s a free tour of most everything Harley-Davidson has to offer with a focus on education, not recruitment for a Punisher-themed biker gang as the signage indicates.
“We enjoy the open road almost as much as vigilante justice”
They walked us through the innumerable customization options Harley-Davidson can provide and their line of safety gear. At least I think they did. I was kind of distracted wondering what the fuck this was for and sorting out why exactly it was arousing me:
I like my ladies in full-blown estrus, dig?
Most of the merch was about what you’d expect. There was leather and kevlar for serious riders (and/or S&M American Gladiators) and all manners of Harley-Davidson branded casual ware. I couldn’t find anything that was quite my style, so I took it upon myself to design their next guaranteed best-seller:
I rounded out the experience by perching atop my first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. To explain what it was like, allow me to direct you to my balls.
It’s not readily apparent from this picture, but that moment was transformative for my testicles and not in some lame metaphorical or emotional sense. I finally understood the power of the Christmas Eve conversion that swept over The Grinch as the sheer manliness of this steel horse made my balls grow three sizes that day.
And all the Whos down in Whoville was like DAAAAAMMMNNN…
While I appreciated the infusion of masculinity Harley-Davidson bestowed on me, it turned out that lugging 3x the testicles you’re accustomed to is pretty taxing. I retired to my room in MGM Grands’s “Chernobyl Wing”, because everyone knows the best part of Vegas is getting to bed at a sensible hour.
“Would you prefer a smoking or non-smoking room? And would you like the room to render you sterile?”
I awoke on day 2 around the time most of my fellow reporters were dragging their fresh tats and newly contracted venereal diseases to bed. I decided to use the time to take in some of Las Vegas’ renowned cultural sites like the “Le Natiche di Diecimila Bolle Scoregge” statue outside the Bellagio:
and the local botanical gardens:
Feeling suitably edified, I thought it might be a fun diversion to catch one of the world class acts that keeps Las Vegas on the entertainment map. I stopped by the concierge’s desk and asked “Could you recommend the rape-iest looking hypnotism show on the strip?
“I know EXACTLY which show you’ll enjoy, sir.”
Obviously a show this sophisticated demanded a certain level of decorum, so I immediately set out to a local clothiers to find something appropriate to wear:
Fresh to death
Unfortunately I could barely hear the performance over the sound of my fellow reporters groaning at the mid-day sun mercilessly streaming into their hotel rooms. I didn’t expect their whinging to be audible at the opposite end of Las Vegas Boulevard, but never underestimate the potential of a writer’s hangover when drinking on someone else’s tab.
I hightailed it back to the hotel since I never miss the opportunity to torture a badly hungover friend. Luckily we were heading to a UFC event whose rowdy fans and Avenged Sevenfold soundtrack would do most of the heavy lifting for me.
Since Harley-Davidson was a sponsor of UFC 143 we were granted the rare privilege of walking right into the actual ring where men would be brutalizing one another for our entertainment. I finally knew what it felt like to be true warrior, minus the training, sacrifice and determination.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
You’d imagine that the Octagon would have all the comforts of Thunderdome, but it actually has about an inch of padding underfoot It was like walking on a massive gel insert for your sneakers. However, when a roid-addled alpha male hoists you above their head and accelerates you toward the mat at terminal velocity I’d imagine that padding provides all the comfort of a gravel bed.
Another thing I noticed was the overwhelming impulse to punch someone after crossing the Octagon’s threshold. Our hosts wouldn’t have approved though, so the chumpionship for the Sloppyweight division remains unresolved:
Two sissy enter! One sissy leave!
I feel like it’s incumbent upon me to describe the fights themselves, but to focus on them would undercut the actions of a man far more worthy of our praise. A man without whom there would be no UFC streaming to your television. Cord Gatherer Guy, I salute you.
The camera man may think he’s something special with all of his harnesses and technology, but fuck that noise. Cord Gatherer Guy doesn’t need to dress up like some H.R. Giger monstrosity just to get our attention. He just quietly carries out the job he was destined to do: preventing tripping injuries while swatting away the throngs of his female fans.
Play on, playa
I could write an entire column about the fights, but most of it would consist of “And then the first guy hit the second guy again.” Instead I believe we should focus on the incredible deference and respect the fighters typically showed one another after the matches, proving once and for all that violence is always the best way to solve a problem.
A demonstration in conflict resolution
After a weekend filled with so much enrichment and growth I wanted to share some thoughts on Vegas’s revealed wisdom and how it relates to the human condition. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything like that. So here’s a wall with naked people jutting out of it.