Vivacity of Vegas |

Vivacity of Vegas

Barry Smith

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, here are some things that happened to me in Vegas, while employed as an AV Guy for a medical conference, that I accidentally packed in my carry-on and brought back with me.DAY ONE- Typical first day audio problems – lots of people coming up to me to complain that they can’t hear the speaker. I tell these whiners how there is nothing wrong with the sound, it sounds just fine to me. I tell them this using a low, mumbling, barely audible voice. – Find a copy of “Card Player” magazine in the lobby – the special Poker Issue. I notice that every single article, column and advertisement uses some variation of the expression “you can bet on it.”DAY TWO- Keep in mind that while the rest of Vegas rocks it like a hurricane, I’m sitting in a hotel meeting room for 12 straight hours each day, overseeing talks with topics like “Sphincter Of Oddi Dysfunction.” This drives me to using expressions like “rocks it like a hurricane.”- I drink coffee to the point of hallucination.DAY THREE- I’m staying in Paris, the Vegas hotel with the gigantic Eiffel Tower replica in front of it. I watch someone buy a tiny replica of said replica in the gift shop. This freaks me out a little bit. What if the giant Eiffel outside was not actually modeled after the original, but is actually a giant version of one of the replicas you can buy in Paris? Then this person is buying a replica of a replica of a replica. I stand in the gift shop, repeating “replica” softly to myself because it just feels so good to say it. I leave for the coffee shop moments before security arrives.- Decide to test my psychic powers. I stare at the back of someone’s head and transmit, via brainwaves: “My head itches. Really, really bad. Man, does the back of my head ever itch. I really need to scratch my head, and I’m gonna do it nnnnnnnow! Now! Scratch NOW!?So far this has only succeeded in making me scratch the back of my own head. Does that count? Can you send psychic messages to yourself?DAY FOUR- Back at my little AV station, I move things around using the small, wooden coffee stirrer. It’s round on one end, like a tiny version of the paddle they put pizzas in an oven with. Well, I place things – a small box of ginseng, a pack of gum, a granola bar wrapper, a scrap of paper – atop this mini paddle and move them back and forth on my table for no reason, sometimes stacking one on top of the other. After a few minutes of doing this, I become aware that I’m making a machine-like whirring sound with my lips. Loud enough that others can hear me.- I count the number of times the speaker says “um” by making marks on a standard-sized sheet of paper. Final count – 288 “ums” in a 40-minute talk. Calculated UPMs – Ums Per Minute (approx. 7.5). Affix marked-up sheet of paper in my journal using Glue Stik, then sign and date it. Yes, I travel with Glue Stik. – See the words “Periampullary Villous Adenoma” written on the screen and don’t even bother to write them down. Same with “Cystic Pancreatic Neoplasms.”DAY FIVE- Make up a new word: “Boregasm (n. bor-gasm) the climax of days of intense boredom, consisting of constricting of the frontal lobe experienced as a wave of apathy and hopelessness throughout the body.”Have five of these this morning alone, but maintain my professionalism throughout, and I’m not just saying that because my AV employers read this column.- A guy in the back row falls asleep and starts snoring. I decide that it’s part of my job as an AV Guy (the “A” part) to go up and smack him between the shoulder blades. He sputters awake, but is slouched so comfortably that he drifts back to sleep and requires another smacking less than five minutes later. Easily the most fun I have all week.Vegas is my kind of town.Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at

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