From the day I was introduced to the game of chess by my stepfather, I was already past child prodigy age, I think around 1965, it took me seven years to tip the final piece in victory.
Of course, I can’t remember anything else, but I remember that day.
It was December 23, 1972, and I was on winter break and visiting my parents on Westover Air Force Base in western Massachusetts.
It ended up being a life-changing event.
I met a good, decent, Catholic high school senior and she was brilliant, gorgeous, humble, and she possessed a body that could stop a hundred Big Ben’s. She was all set to go to Yale in the ensuing Fall semester.
Unfortunately, all those things interested me and so we got very close very quickly.
In the span of three weeks I saw exactly what my life would look like if I were to pursue my current course of action.
For starters, I would not have ended up with Karen, so that doesn’t work.
I would have a lot of money.
A whole lot.
But the thing is, I have never had one iota of respect for money. It might as well be shiny rocks or colorful seashells for all I give a shit.
I have been on crap tables with Georges (high rollers) and if you gamble at all, you can not think of money as other than game pieces to win the game.
Don’t look down at the pile of green 25$ chips and calculate there is enough there to get your kids teeth fixed, or groceries for a month.
Are you crazy?
Why would you even bother with those pesky green chips when you have stacks of pink (1000$ chips)?
Like I said, you lose all respect for money in that city. You are paid well, you pay no state taxes, and if you get on a hot streak and you are young, well, I ended up doing things you can only read about. I have no doubts whatsoever that the amount of money that I spent on liquor, drugs, and other people’s girlfriends is staggering and would probably embarrass most people.
But maddogg isn’t most people.
When I think of the Las Vegas that I knew, the Strip as it was, and the people, always the people, it just reinforces the old “can’t go home” truism and I move to another place in my mind.
I couldn’t go home if I wanted to.
One thing that did sorta stick in my mind from way back in 1981. I had just fallen into another pile of shit and AGAIN I come out smelling like a rose. I had just sat down in my lawyer’s office to find out the disposition of my case(s).
It was unbelievable. He got all charges dismissed. There were eight altogether with three felonies.
The last voice I heard as I left Las Vegas was my lawyers’ telling me the Las Vegas Metro would appreciate it if I left and did not return.
The nerve of some people.