No Laughlin Matter (or, Fire at Will!)

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Irecently spent four days with my friend Matt and his family in Laughlin, Nevada (town motto: “We’re not Las Vegas but We’d Sure Like to be”), a very well-lit city that is actually located in Arizona, or possibly even New Mexico. The original purpose of the trip, I believe, was to be a family vacation, but Matt’s family apparently realized beforehand that they had no desire to spend four days alone with one another, because Matt and his younger brother, Steve, were told to invite friends along, presumably in the hopes that they would help prevent the actual family members from trying to kill one another.

The problem with this system, as it turned out, was that the friend Steve chose to invite, Will, brought into the vacation twice the contention that his presence was supposed to have eliminated, because he was a bozo. An absolute bozo. He was one of those junior high school boys who think they’re really funny because they know all those junior high school boy jokes, which of course are only funny if you’re a junior high school boy, which none of us were, except for him and Steve. So the two of them would get into insult wars with Matt and me, which really was not fair, since Matt and I are Trained Humor Professionals, and Steve and Will are, as I believe I mentioned, bozo junior high school boys.

Matt’s dad, Jim, owns a boat, which is pretty much a requirement if you live in Canyon Lake. That, and you have to be a Little League coach. Much of our time was spent being driven around in the boat by Jim on Lake Mojave, and this could not have been done were it not for the invaluable cooperation of the good folks at Budweiser. Jim had a cooler full of it on the boat, and we feared that disaster had struck when, all in one day, (1) we lost the key to the boat and had to call out a locksmith and pay $50 to have a new one made and wound up wasting half the day, and (2) Jim ran out of beer. He tried to be noble and offered to continue serving as captain, without beer, but he didn’t have any takers, because no one wanted to be around him when he was without beer. It was sort of like separating a mother bear from her cub, except of course that bears would never be allowed to coach Little League, because they would go too easy on the players.

Anyway, our favorite boat-related activity was taking turns being dragged around the lake on an inner tube-like object that was designed to be attached to the back of a boat so that people could be dragged around the lake on it. In other words, we were not misusing this device. It was built solely for what we used it for, namely: attempting to drown Will.

Matt and Steve and I would all take turns riding on this thing, and Jim would drive the boat at a reasonably swift pace — somewhere around 20 miles per hour (47 knots per hour, 739 kilowatts per hour). Eventually, we would lose our grip on the inner tube thing and fall off and flounder in the water for a while until either Jim turned around and picked us up again, or until another boat came by and chopped us into hamburger with its propeller.

But when it came time for Will to try it, everyone in the boat, in the true spirit of democracy, held a quick vote to determine whether we should pull him at the same speed that we had all been pulled at, or if we should perhaps increase the speed to, say, around 125 m.p.h., and attempt to rip his junior high school boy limbs right out of his junior high school boy torso. After much debate, it was determined that, in the spirit of fairness, we would pull him at a normal speed and instead beat him to death with rocks when we reached shore.

Ha ha ha! I’m only kidding of course! Just the light-hearted, irresponsible journalist in me coming out again! Write lots of angry letters! See how much good they do! Ha ha ha!

In publication, the line "See how much good they do!" in the last paragraph was removed. It was apparently OK to taunt people into writing letters, but not OK to imply the letters would be ineffective.

Matt's dad didn't like my characterizing him as a guy who drinks a lot of beer, despite the fact that this characterization is absolutely true. I guess he was more concerned about people making the connection that he was drinking a lot of beer AND driving a boat, but again, that's what he was doing. I call 'em as I see 'em, Paco.

You may not know anything about Canyon Lake, but take my word for it, my observations about it are extremely perceptive and amusing.


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