You just spent a wholesome holiday season with your family. Oh sure you helped yourself to the festive sweets, and there were a few parties where you over-indulged, perhaps even a client dinner or two that went later than they should have.
But you used New Years Day as an opportunity to reflect and set some goals for the coming year. You’ve pledged to quit smoking, drink less, lose ten pounds. And for the first five days of the year, you lived your goals.
Then you turned the page on your Outlook, Daytimer or iCal to the week of January 7, and there it is at the top of the page, in bold letters, spanning three nights and four days: “CES IN VEGAS.”
Yes, it’s CES: where new year resolutions go to die! Ohhhh man are your plans for a healthy 2013 at risk.
CES is a blow-out corporate party for 150,000 engineers, BD guys and floppy disc salesmen that will put your new healthy lifestyle to the test (it is also a cellphone-holstered sausage-fest of Super Bowl proportions, but that’s another story).
Not only will you be eating and drinking on your company’s or vendor’s dime, but you’ll be party-hopping, gambling and carousing long after your multiple dinners’ multiple desserts have been swept away.
The onslaught begins as soon as your feet touch the ground. Indeed the first sound you’ll hear on departing your plane is the clanging of slot machines inside McCarran International.
You can even drink a beer at baggage claim! Is this a great city or what?
So you’ll need all the self-control you can muster if your resolutions are to make it out of Sin City relatively intact.
Here are a few ideas for staying safe and healthy in Vegas during CES:
- No room service after 10:00 p.m. I recall a late night order of double-fried chicken fingers and curly fries that followed a previous dinner and hours of carousing with senior clients (no names here – especially not Nick Roberts or Julie Doleman). This wasn’t the worst moral decision I’ve ever made in Vegas, but it’s one I’m still carrying around in m’ man-boobs.
- Don’t take anything from a cab driver. Not a pamphlet, not a phone number, not a cellophane bag. Don’t even take advice. I suppose that should be self-evident.
- Go See a Show. No, I’m not kidding. You’ve got to manage the clock in Vegas. If you can burn two or three hours at a show, it’ll keep you away from the tables, the bar and worse. I hear that Blue Man Group is just super-duper.
- Black Jack Tip. Find the tables where ex-“dancers” are dealing. They count a little slower, so you go through fewer hands/hour, thus limiting your downside.
- Avoid the 24-hour porn. Economically, it’s just not worth it, what with the law of diminishing marginal returns and whatnot. Practically, you really shouldn’t submit to your company’s accounting department a hotel bill containing both your name and the words “’Round-the-Clock-Cock.”
- Emergency Note. If you happen to wake up one morning on the floor of one of the extended-stay “suites” at The Jockey Club, do the following: 1. Put your pants back on. 2. Try to locate your phone and wallet (this may not be possible). 3. Make note of your host’s physical attributes for inevitable police line-up (does he look more like Harry Dean Stanton or James Woods?) 4. Run like hell.
In summary, think about it like this: if you can make it through four days and three nights in Vegas and keep things even relatively decent shape (one dessert per night, no more than a couple of smokes, and in bed by 1:00 a.m.), you are forging your New Year resolutions into permanent behaviors.
After all, if your discipline can survive the big-boy combat of Vegas, of course it can make it through the kid-stuff conferences to follow, like iMedia in Amelia Island (which is about as dangerous as antiquing with your grandmother).
So walk the floor, talk to some booth babes, schmooze your clients and have a cocktail or two. Then get on an early flight home, kiss your family and take a shower, if only a metaphorical one.