There I was, swimsuit clad, a vision of intense pretentiousness, reading Beckett’s fantastic anti-novel, while families of fifteen surrounded my wife and me. Heat moving beyond 110 degrees and people were wading about in the hot tub, ordering fully loaded nachos with extra cheese. To try and make sense of it, even now, is dizzying. Of course our dear friend Samuel helped urge me through the absurdity. You can’t go on? You can’t comprehend this place? You must.
Who better to spend time with in the strangeness of Las Vegas than Samuel Beckett? Hopping from pool umbrella to pool umbrella feels a bit like tracking the arc of The Unnamable. You get the sense that there’s an objective, a narrative even, but every time you get your footing the sun shifts ever so slightly and you’re blinded again. Recursion and destruction and an oppressive nothingness. Not as many smoke clouds in Vegas nowadays, yet there is a stench that moves over every object–a sweet smelling repugnance. A place of pure Beckettian quality.
In all the strangeness (ugliness, perhaps) and despair of Vegas there is a profound beauty. That’s why my wife and I decided to get married there. It is a romantic place. Chaotic, yes, but the chaos of neon flesh–of moonlight crashed to earth. To see my wife cast in the flickering purples and yellows, to hear her laugh overlapping the chimes and bells, to kiss her beneath luminescent cowboys, is as complete a beauty as I can imagine. We promised to love each other forever in a pink Cadillac to a pastor whose lips were stained with cherry popsicle and who couldn’t quite remember my name–if there’s a happiness beyond that I’ve yet to see it.
Vegas, Beckett, and my very pretty wife are forever intwined. And if I believed in the sort of thing I’d say it’s by design. The hopefulness hidden in Beckett, the swirling dream of Vegas, and the jovial, mischievousness of my best friend all meld together as if to say, life can be oh so terrible, but not today.