photos off the tv by tj worthington
Sunday the race on the Las Vegas track, 1.5mi. Every time they showed a blimp shot of the track, the entire city in the background, I'd think: I don't even want to fly over that place. Other people can think it great and wonderful. Money Money Money. Go win some free money. I, of all people, was offered a ride on Donald Trump's jet to AtlanticCity with some very wealthy people I was working for at the time in the late 1980s. They offered to give me some money to play with. I respectfully declined. That is not my world. It is not even a playground extension of my world. It is nothing to my world. No, I don't want to go to Mars. There's nothing there. That's how I feel about Atlantic City and Las Vegas; there's nothing there. It's a money pit where people drive and fly from all around to throw their money. My money doesn't come that easy. I need what money I have access to for my infrastructure. I don't have anything left over to give to professional takers. And, like above, if I had the money I wouldn't spend it there. Give me the same amount and cut me loose in NYC for a week with theater, music, muesums. Not gambling joints. Maybe I don't like gambling because I'm a sore loser. If so, I'm grateful for it.
The spirit of those places is desire. Those names, LasVegas and AtlanticCity, mean a place where every desire can find a moment of satisfaction for a price. Good places for people bottled up at home, by church, by neihbors, by belief systems, to cut loose and sin like we just talk about back home. I'm so grateful my spiritual path calls for less fulfilment of desires than more. Not by doctrinaire command
do I avoid piling on desires, but by seeing that desires are the seeds of problems I don't want. I want, I want, I want gets a lot of people in serious trouble. I-want has got me in serious trouble in the past. In big ways and in little ways. It gets some people time in jail. It gets some people married to the wrong one. Wanting little eases complexities out of one's life before they begin. Wanting little is the beginning of a simple life. Marcel Duchamp said, It's not what you earn, but what you spend. Duchamp lived with minimum desires throughout his life. Seemed to me Duchamp rode the wave of the spirit throughout his life, like he was born the advanced soul I believe he was, taking a human form to help raise the consciousness of artists to a whole new level, a new understanding of art.
At home, I live among people who value money more than I do. I don't need to go to Vegas to be among people going crazy over money, the Delphi of the money oracle. YOU WIN. Hooray. YOU LOSE. Go home. Some make enough money to buy a new metal shed to put in the back yard on 4 bricks to put all the stuff from the garage in. Better that I stay home and desire the waning of my desires. It's our desires other people use to manipulate us, use to get our money. If you want to look pretty, cover up your face with this certain kind of makeup and nobody will know it's you, except by your eyes. Like the song says, you can't hid your lyin eyes. Adopt this attitude that says you're cool if you want whatever it is, fill in the blank. Being popular is a desire. Being cool is a desire. It is an endless list of desires. I don't quench all my desires. Having not much money takes care of dealing with the expensive desires. It's no temptation at all for the most beautiful car in the world when the price is $350,000. I look at it and say, Oh, that's pretty. Same with a Rauschenberg painting of same price. I can see it in a book or online. That will do. If I were a high roller, I'd have a lot of desires going where buying art is concerned.
Money is something I've had a fear of, actually, all my life. My male role-model daddy wasn't good with money at all, didn't know the first thing about it. When he stole my entire savings account after my first summer of work, age 14, I lost confidence in banks. I was told by the teller no one could take the money out but me. She lied. My first bank experience. At the end of the next summer, I spent all my savings immediately, all at once, to get rid of it so it won't be stolen. So I could have something for it. A new hi-fi record player. Listening to preacher every week spell out the evils of money-love, and I saw it, sort of. But really didn't see it any more than making it a taboo inviting desire to indulgence with much more magnetic energy. I think of the logo line for this little bottle of something called 5-Hour Energy, "When you got stuff to do." How American and brief is that? Slick as good to the last drop.
That's where Las Vegas took me. It's not of much interest. I don't want to hear Wayne Newton or Blue Man Group or any of it. I'm not comfortable in the desert either. The race, unfortunately, never really became interesting. Debris on track caution flags, one after the other. I couldn't get caught up in it, like watching a movie and the telephone ringing all the time. Commercials about the thrill of throwing your money away in Vegas. I'm in a place in my life I don't want a thrill. It's enough to look out the window at the snowbirds pecking about like miniature chickens, flying from one perching twig to another waiting for an opening at the birdfeeder, scratching among last year's leaves on the ground with some sparrows, the pair of cardinals, a pair of doves, the occasional towhee, the calico bird, and a pair of downy woodpeckers, the titmice, nuthatches. Beats fussing in my mind over going to Vegas to get some free money or call somebody for the money to get home with. I'm not a good gambler. Cards too seldom fall in my favor. I don't care to learn all that it would take to know about poker to reach a place where my cards don't matter. Even if I knew how to play cards, the people in those casinos are slick.