This week I spent a couple days in Lake George, NY, a place I hadn't been in 8 years. Eight years, I found that pretty disturbing. I guess I'm actually getting to the age where I can get old man nostalgia. Up until now the longest I went without revisiting some place was probably a year. You waited 12 whole months to get back to the Pocono Cup soccer tournament to enjoy those delicious funnel cakes, and it felt like an enternity. But those days were different, you were pretty much the same person at Pocono Cup '94 and Pocono Cup '95, unless you were one of those people who actually hit puberty in their teens... In any case, the difference was neglible. At 13 you have no sense of perspective and no one cares about nostalgia, you've got banana kicks to practice. But now I'm 23, yep the "ew" age, and stepping foot in a place I hadn't stepped foot in since I was 15 and 5'6" was strange. When I was a kid, walking through Lake George Village was like walking through Las Vegas. It was surreal. It seemed huge and glamorous with limitless entertainment and t-shirt shops. The wax museum with the horror movie figures was genuinely scary, in fact, I never went in just because of the creepy guy on the piano in the window. Twenty dollars seemed like a fortune and nights seemed like they lasted forever, even though they ended by 10. There's something unsettling about remembering those times, as if I lost something I absolutely can never have again, because Lake George Village at 23 is very different.
Upon first glance, the place looks tiny. I feel like I can walk the whole thing in 10 strides. I feel like I could easily kick over a miniature golf windmill and crush the fake tattoo stand with my bare hands. Even for a quaint tourist town, the prices are not cheap. Twenty dollars doesn't feel like it would even get you started, unless all you wanted was a t-shirt with the Budweiser frogs on it. The arcade, once my idea of heaven, seems abysmal. I walk by the games and try to figure out why I played these games I could never win. Really, think about it, try to remember an arcade game you played all the way through to the end. I'd be surprised if anyone could name more than 2, and I've played hundreds of times. And if you did pump in 5 bucks in quarters and actually beat a game, what was your reward? Nothing...your initials if you're lucky. Noah Vanderhoff was right, the arcade business is easy as cake...sweet, sugary, delicious funnel cake.
So what's it all mean. You got me. All I can think of is that 23 sucks. After a few minutes I realized how jaded I sounded. Criticizing arcades? That's almost un-American. Nevertheless, it was true, I wouldn't be caught dead playing the claw game now just to try to win a mustache comb. And 20 bucks? Forget it. I can spend 20 bucks in a bar before I order a drink. And at 23 all bars are lame, to different degrees. Two years is long enough to play out every shore bar and realize how bad Bar A is, but that's the subject for a later post. Now the only thing that really gets me amped is Vegas. Atlantic City is within driving distance, but it's still just a taste to tide me over for the real dope. Going to AC is like watching the USA Version of The Terminator. It's pretty much the same thing and yet at the same time it's completely different. Las Vegas, the ultimate in entertainment, debauchery, and sin, is the only thing that really gets my blood going. Where the nights once again seem endless. Where you're once again dealing with sums of money so much larger than you're used to that it makes you giddy. And once again the town seems infinite. Walking down the strip you feel like you could never see all of this place. Once again you feel humbled by something that's still bigger than you and anything seems possible.
Yet still, it isn't quite the same feeling as when I was a kid. I'm not sure if that feeling can ever be replicated once you grow up. I guess maybe you can relive some of those days by having kids and going through it with them. That may sound sappy, but I'd rather have one of those nights than any night trapped in a meathead sandwich at DJais. So I guess that means I gotta start having kids. It's either that or get a job so I can have money to go to Vegas, and as fun as that sounds, having kids sounds easier.