To Walk and Chew Gum: The Sin City Dilemma

By Royal Hopper
Instead of the usual story telling and observations I would like to make a statement about something very relevant tp modern life. With all that has happened in this country …_ in Tulsa …in Charleston _ It is important to say that things. In all things it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time to see all sides of an issue or a grapefruit.

Even in the fall. The sun here causes a terrible glare _ Royal Hopper

Think about it
You can for instance have a love/hate relationship with the City of Sin. It is possible to know that people need a place where they can cut lose and understand the destructive effect of gambling and alcohol. You can see the all the house notes and car notes the jobs it generates pay and the trail of ruined lives it sometimes leaves.
After more than 16 total years in the City of Sin seeing a man dressed like a woman or seeing two men or two women holding hands doesn’t give me the slightest pause. I am much more open minded because of living in this city _ but I’m also much more cynical and have perfected my “I’m a local leave me be,” glare _ the one that keeps  charity seekers and sign holders are bay. The one I give when I know someone is going to have to leave my casino and that there can be no debate about it.


Out for a walk _ Royal Hopper

I have rediscovered my love of Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll again and learned to let others be in their choice of music. Listen to what you like ..what moves your heart is my motto.
You learn them both in this city _  the glare and the open mind.. They are survival traits here.
As a casino security officer and small town police beat reporter. I have met many worthy men and women who wore the blue and kaki of law enforcement and also reported on questionable activities they have indulged in. I understand that as a rule they are honorable people who do a difficult, thankless job. I also know that when those 10 percent who are bad apples do something wrong it is serious business.


This is one from last week. I thought it bore repeating _ Royal Hopper

It is possible to see that at times it is only the dark reputation of the keepers of order that keeps this town from falling into chaos and to see that all power corrupts and must sometimes be checked. I can tell you from personal experience that it was only the movie of the week inspired possibility that they would be bounced off a wall on the way to the door that keeps order in our casino.


The City of Sin

Think about it
It is possible to be sad when a good cop looses their life in the line of duty and to be outraged when someone dies in police custody who shouldn’t have… You can do it.. I can and have mourned the loss of a brave order keeper and been outraged by the lives lost when they shouldn’t be ….
Think about it when you are inspecting a fruit for purchase you don’t just look at one side or even two.. You look at the entire fruit for flaws and virtues…
That is what life in the City of Sin Teaches you
Take Care Sinners

The very moment you step outside the doors of your house in this city you make a decision, followed by another decision followed by another. They chart the path of your day and either way you turn there is an exiting wrong decision to be made and a boring right one.


There is nothing like jamming to your favorite tunes when your holding a sign on a street corner _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Do I rage or do I stow

by Royal Hopper

You are preparing to change lanes in your 13-year-old burgundy truck and out of the corner of your eye you spot another truck a shiny gray one heading for your right rear bumper.
Impatient and younger, with all that implies, the gray truck hit the gas as you begin to change lanes and speeds around you to the exact spot you were headed toward.


Someone’ a little dyslexic maybe _ Royal Hopper

Horns blare steering wheels are jerked and the combined 6 tons of Detroit steel miss each other by inches probably by less than the length of the average man’s   errr foot ..yeah that’s it foot. The traffic light ahead catches both trucks and they both have to stop.
The next few moments are tense _ a potential road rage incident as both drivers stare at each other through the dark green tint of their tired old for wheeled work trucks _ each seeing only an outline of the other and each grabbing the steering wheel of your truck trying to make a decision.


A street corner conversation in the City of Sin _ Photo by Royal Hopper

It is Monday and you are just not in the mood.  .. Do you sit there in impotent rage and let the SOB drive on… Do you ease up on the trucks brakes and let it surge forward and tilt the wheel so it angles toward the other guy do you throw a rock at him ????
It is Monday and you drive to the entrance of your subdivision/ complex or whatever and stop for a second. Really not eager to drive where you are going.
Do you drive the most direct way down the back roads past the airport _ avoid most of the worst traffic and sign holders and tourists? Of course it does go right by a school so there will likely be a short traffic jam at the school zone.


A sale _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Go the other way the scenery is better and there are fewer speed traps …more red lights but fewer people rushing to get to the airport ..more stops but more sights to see..  A dozen decisions to make _  left or right, highway or roadway each decision has a consequence and adds another choice to the menu. Do you drink a caffeinated beverage that will wake you up but give you the jitters and make it harder for you to not to run over the idiots who run into traffic because crosswalks are for wussies.
You eventually decide on the direct way _  the way you usually go _ because it is you know the way you usually go which leads you to where you are now staring at the other truck through the dark tint of your truck windows and the darker tint of your cheap sunglasses trying to make a decision.
Do you roll down the window and hurl insults and the convenient plastic water bottle at him ? Do you point your wheels at the other vehicle and pretend to be ready for ramming speed?
or Do you sit in impotent rage curse a little a turn up the radio and wait for the light to turn. Of course you do nutbag.  The other stuff is stupid and dangerous in this city.
It is not a war zone genius. It is just the daily commute ..It is just life in the City of Sin.


There were yard sales, big yard sales, and then there are multi-family yard sales. This one took place on a Sin City residential zone in April _ Royal Hopper

There is always a yard sale in the City of Sin

by Royal Hopper
On any given day as you start down the road to work and see the signs.  Stop says the first sign. At the first intersection you see a man standing in the road with a sign that says Hungry Anything Helps and one hand-written sign that proclaims yard sale in bright neon letters. Not to be outdone the next sign says Big Yard Sale ..that way > Because a big yard sale is always better than a small one.


This sign stood at the entrance of the old Riviera Hotel/Casino last May. The Riviera was demolished last month after more than 60-years as a Sin City Land Mark- Royal Hopper

Remembering the signs he held before that proclaimed “ Ninjas kidnapped my family and I need money for karate lessons” and the ones that read why lie I need weed you drive on.
From casinos peddling overpriced adventures in false hedonism to stores peddling       under-priced Colas and Beer to sell overpriced aspirin and bread, and fellow Sinners looking to unload the worn out toys they have collected, people in this city have a lot of left overs they need to get rid of. As we have talked about before signs are the bright, neon, cliché overcoat of this city.


It’s Elvis and Vegas –they kind of go together. This sign advertises the Elvis Exhibit that closed a few months ago – Royal Hopper

They say more about it than anything you read on the internet or see on television. If you want to know the cultural wardrobe of the City of Sin or any other city drive down the streets, walk down the sidewalks in all parts of the city  and read the signs.
“Gas $2.54 a gallon” says one. “Beer $6.99 says another. Coca Cola 89 cents and hotdogs $2.39” say the signs clustered around one intersection within sight of a 50 foot tall sign of a supermodel advertising jewelry and neon towers with spelling out the names of casinos in 12 foot tall letters.


Jimmy played here about two years ago _ Royal Hopper

There are political signs of every ideological bent down one road _  politicians begging to keep their jobs and some seeking a job on the public trust and weird one that says Logic : For Rent. You would think they would sell it outright Logic being in such desperate demand.


This bold gentleman proudly proclaimed his beliefs to passersby in a Sin City intersection in March 2012 _ Royal Hopper

Hit the highway and there are lawyers for sale : “No Fee Unless We Win,” and another proclaiming “We win,” and another selling sandwiches proclaiming a Warm Welcome for all who come to eat their Capriotti sandwiches, Billy Ocean says another advertising a concert.
Then suddenly you realize at the completion of your drive there is a rule about signs in Las Vegas. The rule is there are signs everywhere and everybody has a sign of some  kind…In the city of Sin everybody is selling something to somebody…
It is life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners  bye