Tom Green goes home
It was the middle of the morning or middle of the night. Describing the actual time is pointless. It was simply one of those moments in Vegas when the sun isn’t up and people aren’t hungover and mean yet. I was on the way to my room, a junior suite at the Palms, a place where the view is great, the room is average, and the housekeeping staff gives new meaning to the phrase “minimal effort.”
I was sharing an elevator with a guy who looked like Eminem and a girl who I could only define by her heels that laced around her ankles. She was used up and wearing shoes that not only looked out of style, but uncomfortably so.
“You know,” the guy said, and then paused for one second, long enough for me to know what he was about to say. “You look a lot like Tom Green.”
Vegas is a place where celebrity is the theme. Celebs go there. Non-celebs go there to feel like celebs. It’s a perfect, hollow, shallow place where nothing means anything. For the time you’re there, it’s meant to feel real. Millions are spent to make sure you and everybody else spend millions more and feel like a superstar while you do.
I saw my share of famous and semi-famous folks while I was out there–Charles Barkley, Jason Alexander, Ben Affleck, Ray Ramano, Matt Damon, Scott Ian, Sully Urna, Chuck Liddell, Dita Von Teese, Marlon Shirley, Don Cheadle, not to mention every famous poker person you’ve ever heard of. I don’t get excited by famous people. My old job and my current line of work put me in the same circles with celebrities ona regular basis. The only one that was even vaguely interesting to me was Shirley. He ended up at a poker table with me and a couple of fairly well known players. Before the end of the night, people were asking for Shirley’s autograph and taking pictures of our table. Why was Shirley so interesting? This video should explain it.
The sum of the whole three-week trip however was defined by the last night as I rode up to my room for the last time. It was at least the fifth time someone had told me I look like Tom Green.
“I get that a lot,” I said and bid the two partiers goodnight.
I’ve been to Vegas too many times now. It was a long time ago that I figured out that no matter how rich or poor you are, the feeling of celebrity lasts only as long as you are in town with money in your pocket. Getting repeatedly mistaken for a b-list celebrity used to be annoying. It has since become a perfect way for me to remember who I really am.
My car service was waiting for me when I got into Greenville last night. I picked up my own bag and pulled it to the curb where my driver was waiting for me. She was tan and the most beautiful woman I’d seen in weeks. In the back seat sat a little man with the biggest smile I’d ever seen.
“Did you bring me a surprise, Daddy?” he asked.
I climbed in and kissed the driver as long as I could. And then we went home.
I woke up at sunrise feeling as rested as I have in a month. My wife, son, and dog were all still asleep. I laid under the spinning fan as the new day’s light came through the window and listened to my wife breathe. The dog moved over and then snuggled up against me. On the child monitor, I could hear my son quietly rustling in his bed. Nothing that happens in Vegas could make me wake up feeling as calm as I did today.
As has become pretty normal in my world, my life is in a bit of flux following the big trip. I’ve come home with a month’s worth of dirty clothes, a long queue of undone work, and way too many things about which to think. Over the past several weeks, I’ve bored a few friends with the realities of my life. It’s become too common a conversation, and I owe those friends more than a little gratitutde for listening to me think out loud.
Now, it’s time to hunker down and think for real. Now, at 7:39am, I have no idea where any of this is going to go. I only know that being home couldn’t feel better than it does. Here, I can go to sleep with a gorgeous woman every night and I can be a hero to someone I idolize.
I wonder if Tom Green has such a good life.