Sunday, September 25, 2011

Make Hunter proud!



Guys, we are only a few days away from our H-8 B-Wing reunion trip to Vegas, and I thought I would take the opportunity to inspire you to great feats.

Hunter S. Thompson did not write Fear and Loathing in Columbus, OH. Columbus, OH, has gambling, shows, drinking and prostitution. But it is not Las Vegas. And we, señores, are going to Las Vegas, which brings up the question: What are we, as individuals and as a group, going to do that will have to stay in Vegas: something that will make HST proud, Las Vegas what it is, and ourselves, laudably loathsome?

Now, you don't have to transgress my boundaries, leave alone those of HST. All you have to do is transgress your own. Let's consider some examples of transgressions that won't count.

  • Lose more money gambling on this trip than your previous high. (Unless it is greater by an order of magnitude.)
  • Eat till you are sick and have to be hospitalized. Obviously, this proscription applies only to Raj A. and Sanjay U., for everyone else, this is a fair challenge.
  • Plain and simple vomiting. Unless
  1. You do it from the top of a ride
  2. You do it from a gondola into the canals of Venice
  3. You first drop your glasses and then puke on them.
  • Make a fool of yourself. This blanket proscription is in place because
  1. It is too non-specific
  2. You've done it before – Dude, we know you.

Let me throw out some ideas.

Gambling: Remember the order of magnitude rule. You have to risk at least 10 times your previous maximum net loss. OK, it doesn't mean you have to end the weekend with that much net loss, just that at some point during your stay you have to be down by that amount. You can, and in fact are encouraged to, stay at the table so you can win back your losses. This has the advantage of potentially lowering the amount you'll be obliged to risk next time you are in Vegas with us, a factor of 11 marginal benefit. For example, say your previous maximum net loss on a trip was $10. This time you have to risk $100. You play till you are down $ 101 and have met your goal. But are you satisfied? Next time, you'll have to risk $1010. Whereas if you stay at the table and win back $10, so that your net loss is only $91, next time you'll only have to risk $910! That is an overall saving of $110 over this trip and the next!

What does this translate to for me? $2.50! Why? Some decades ago, in a desperate attempt to read the romantic tea-leaves as it were, I played 3 quarters in the slots, one each for myself, for my fiancee at the time and for TWIWF. The quarter for TWIWF won back 50 cents, my fiancee and I broke up, and TWIWF went back to her cheating hubby. Isn't astrology amazing?

Climbing: Being jilted doesn't make you a better climber, it just makes you less concerned about your own mortality, makes you give even less of a shit. Within the space of a few months I'd repeatedly taken a 30 foot whipper on a 5.10+ trad route and one 35” whipper on a 5.10d sport route. My previous hardest climbs have been a 10b/c trad and 11b sport. So in Red Rocks my goal will be to do either a midlength 5.9+ or a very long 5.8. How exactly is this “upping the ante”? In the increasingly inaptly named Yosemite Decimal System, the grades go from 5.0 to 5.15a, passing through grades like 5.8+ (harder than 5.8 but not quite 5.9) and 5.9- (5.9, but just about) and grades like 5.12a, 5.12b, 5.12c, 5.12d after which comes 5.13a. Somewhere we also have 5.10b/c, and we also have qualifiers like sport vs. trad, a length scale from I through VI+ and a safety scale : PG, G, S, R and X. So now it should be perfectly clear why a long 5.8 is going to be a wordy challenge for me.

Sex: In increasing order of merit:
  1. Pay for sex
  2. Fall in love with an escort
  3. Fall in love with an escort without realising his/her profession
  4. Get into a barfight with the pimp in an attempt to “save” the person in question
Where am I on this ? I've struck-out on AshleyMadison, so (1.) will be a good goal for me. However,
mitigating circumstances exist. 

I'll be attempting to climb one of the tall, free standing, erect, towers in Red Rocks, and as any half-decent Freudian knows, that is an expression of my deep-seated and suppressed homo-erotic fantasies. For women, (and just by the way, why aren't there any women in our reunion?) the equivalent would be to climb in Owen's Gorge or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Plus, after I'd taken that 40' whipper on the 5.10d, and Orlando had driven himself into a drunken black funk on New Year's Eve by expecting Las Vegas to be like a “plaza in Spain” and, hungover, had properly dishonoured himself on Fear&LoathingIII by dogging and pulling and hanging his way up, we were quietly getting stoned on the drive back to Santa Barbara, when he looked at me and said, “Hombre, if you were a woman, I'd kiss you right now.” To which I'd replied, “O-man, you are so beautiful I would have kissed you back.” Then we'd stopped just before the CA border, at the last chicken-ranch in NV, imagined the girls in the back rooms and looked up at the curtained windows. “Last chance!” he said. “No. Our cheating bitches will be pleading for us when we get back.” said I. And it was true.

That is when you know you are well and truly fucked, when she pleads for you, when she lies and promises and cajoles her way into your bed before washing herself off and going back home to her BF or husband. She can afford rejection from you because patient, kind, loving, or, this is a good one “He understands me!” is waiting for her at home, to comfort her should you be smart enough to reject her. She can afford to give you a choice which is no choice because you'll never, never, in that moment, say “no!”, because before that deeply miserable and lonely night you will have glory, and if you say “no!” you will have no glory and only slightly less miserable and lonely a night.

And O-man and I made a pact, that we would climb more, waste less time on the women who respectively and respectfully had us by the balls, a pact that we knew we wouldn't keep, because we would be admired for our bruises, for our sunburnt skin, for our stories of valor and failure, for our twisted, bent and damaged but strong fingers and other words would be said, words which would atrophy our brains but swell our heads and one other body part each. Where are you O-man?

So I'll give myself a pass on this one. What do you guys think?

Other, innocent ideas:
  • See the wild burros in RRSP
  • Listen to the coyotes howl in the desert
  • Confess to us something that none of the rest of us know about you. (And fukinn make it good, I don't want to hear about some stolen patent or how you fired a 100 people, not unless you stole their panties and screwed half of them first.)

To conclude: You guys are all Masters of the Universe, goal-setters, accomplished followers of Stephen Covey. Set a goal, make a plan to accomplish it over the weekend and publicize it so you can be held accountable. Recall what Prof. Isaac, then Dean of Student Affairs, said to us: “You represent India's best. You are the brain in 'brain drain', you are the cream in 'sour cream'! You've floated to the top, like shit or Sorrow.”

And as Gandhi said, “If you don't plan to make an ass of yourself, you won't!”


Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by Arun Yethiraj Patron of the Arts Grant LV-SEP2011.

2 comments:

divya tate said...

LOL! that was a fun read!

"Being jilted ........ it just makes you less concerned about your own mortality, makes you give even less of a shit!
insightful! he heh... and i think i can confirm that it applies to being divorced also...

Ranjeet said...

OMG, my sister shouldn't be reading this!