ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
Thursday was my final day in Las Vegas. It was also my luckiest.
LUCKY THING #1
I was Sin City working on the production of a huge pharmaceutical sales meeting at the MGM Grand Hotel, scheduled to return to New York on Friday. But I was released a day early - with pay!
That means I am getting paid on Friday to do absolutely nothing.
You're probably thinking, "Will, I get paid to do nothing at work every day. What's the big deal?"
The big deal is I'm freelance. And I make a good day rate. You don't usually pay a freelancer to sit around and do nothing. There are plenty of staff people for that.
This is a first for me. In 16 years as a freelancer I've never been paid to do nothing (please excuse the double negative). I feel like one of those no-show construction workers on The Sopranos!
If you're looking for me today, I'll be sitting on a lawn chair and drinking Coors Light with Paulie Walnuts.
LUCKY THING #2
When I go on the road to produce one of these pharmaceutical shows I make a day rate, plus overtime if I work more than ten hours. And I almost always work more than ten hours - sometimes a lot more.
I love overtime. I don't love working long hours, but I do love getting paid at 1.5x my hourly rate.
And Vegas is the perfect place to work overtime. It's just like gambling. You don't really know how much money you're going to walk away with until it's all over. But unlike gambling, there's no chance that you're going to lose it.
I guess if I told the client to go fuck himself, they probably wouldn't pay me. But I've never tested that theory out.
This particular project was pretty stressful, and the hours were long. So I was already making a lot of money. But on Wednesday I got some great news.
I found out that I was going to be making more for overtime work than I had originally thought - almost $2,000 more! Of course, this information inspired me to gamble another $500 at the routlette table.
And of course I lost, as usual.
So I ended my five days of gambling with a $1,900 loss. But when you factor in the $2,000 of "found money" that I wasn't planning on, I still managed to end up on the plus side!
I lost at every game I played in the casino. But somehow I managed to win money at work.
LUCKY THING #3
On Wednesday night I called my airline and attempted to change my flight home from Friday to Thursday. The representative informed me that there would be a $100 fee to guarantee a seat on a Thursday morning flight back to New York
"Is there any way I can avoid that fee?" I asked.
"Well, you could stand by," the operator said. "But the rest of the flights on Thursday are fully booked. If you don't get a seat on this one you won't be able to leave until Friday."
I decided to risk it and make one last bet.
I awoke on Thursday and checked out of the MGM Grand. I stopped by the ATM in the casino to withdraw some money for cab fare to the airport, but the ATM wouldn't give me any.
I even lose at the ATM. Am I lucky or what?
I have plenty of money in the bank, but apparently there is a 24 hour maximum for cash withdrawals, and i had exceeded it the night before, when I withdrew the $500 I "donated" to the routlette table.
So there I was, in a rush to get to the airport, but with no money for a cab. I thought about panhandling, but I was wearing nice pants. Nobody gives change to a guy in nice pants.
Luckily I ran into a coworker who was also on her way to McCarran International. So I hitched a ride and checked in at the airport as a standby.
I waited at the gate, hoping that my name would be called.
"Passenger Goldstein!" the Continental attendant announced.
"Passenger Lee!" she continued. "Passenger Miller!"
She called so many names it t soundeded like she was reading the phone book. But still no me.
"Passenger McKin...McKennel? McKinnnel? McKinney?" She never properly said my name, but it was close enough for me.
"Here!" I yelled, as I made my way to the counter. Then I boarded the flight back to New York with an extra $100 in my pocket.
I may have lost all week long, but I left Las Vegas a winner.