MAN OF THE HOUSE

Las Vegas is one long happy hour

I love martinis. I average about two a year, usually here in Las Vegas, where they are known to spawn. A cold glass of beer is a splendid sight, and a glass of Chardonnay has a lovely sort of moon glow. But a martini comes with that great stiletto heel.

And after the first sip of my very first martini, I become disoriented and hopelessly lost. We'd arrived in Vegas at 5 p.m., Posh and I, and by 6 we are sitting in a cocktail lounge at the MGM Grand, me sipping a vodka martini, her one of those cosmos, pink as a baby's butt.

"Where to next?" I say.

"We just got here," Posh says.

"We have to keep our fluids up," I say.

"We do?"

"Follow me," I say, and head off in the completely wrong direction.

For me, Las Vegas is one long sobriety test. Can I get through the revolving door alive? Can I keep from losing a foot on the escalator? I swear, if Vegas were a cruise ship, I would've fallen overboard years ago.

"This way," I say.

"No, I think it's this way," Posh says.

She's absolutely right. My wife is younger than me and has better eyes. In fact, she has magnificent eyes. And a Cheshire smile. Wait . . . that's not Posh. That's someone else's Posh. Poshhhhhhhhhh!!!

"I'm over here," she says.

OK, that's it, I'm switching to beer -- a far superior lubricant anyway. Vodka is for losers, the hooch behind most failed Eastern Bloc regimes. Beer is better. In the right light, a glass of beer looks like the Lombardi Trophy.

Fifteen minutes later, we're sitting in an Irish pub in New York New York, which is like heaping falsehood upon falsehood. There is nothing Irish about this pub. There is nothing New York about the desert.

What to make of Vegas. The place both fascinates and repulses me. I like the audacity of it all, and the energy too. I can skip that whole high-roller shtick -- the big cover charges, the limos and the bottle service. Go with it if you like; it's just "not my bag," as Sammy would say.

But for people-watching, good food and a little fun, Vegas is fine by me.

"Are you 21?" I ask Posh as we head into a casino.

"Yes, finally," she says.

"Good," I say. "Because you look so young."

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