Sid’s Sense- What a 7-year-old Learned in Vegas
[If you read Part III of Sid’s Sense, you already know to beware of assumptions!]
View previous posts in this series, Sid’s Sense.
I learned powerful lessons in Vegas and it wasn’t how to shoot craps. I’m 7 years old. Too young to fully comprehend or appreciate the magnitude of these once in a lifetime experiences. Nevertheless, the lessons remain with me to this day.
This is 1970 and Elvis is the entertainment icon of the day. Elvis Presley is in Vegas performing. My parents suggest the whole family go see the show and we are all very excited.
My Dad makes a couple calls. There are no pre-sale tickets left but a few will be sold at the door before the show.
It is now evening and our family is all dressed and we get in a cab. We are about 3 miles from the hotel where Elvis will perform. About a mile away from our hotel we see tons of people lined up on the sidewalks. What’s all the fuss about? We are driving precisely where the line is winding. We arrive at the destination and confirm the line is to see the Elvis show. The line was 2 miles long!
My mom says, “So much for that idea!” My Dad replies, “Just park.”
Lesson #1: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
My Dad tells everyone to stay in the car except me. He takes me by the hand and we maneuver through the enormous crowds up to the entrance to the theatre. He approaches the guy holding the door and tells him we came all this way to see Elvis Presley and asks if he can get us in.
Lesson #2: Use advantages at your disposal and reveal only what you must.
My Dad used me as an instant symbol of innocence and sincerity, something that would take a grown man by himself more time. I am all dressed up with a huge blonde bun and pearls on top of my head. He did not reveal there were 3 others coming until AFTER the guy agreed to get us in.
Lesson #3: Don’t over think. Sometimes you have to jump in and figure it out as you go.
My Dad was faced with a dilemma. He has to strike while the iron is hot and enter the theatre while we have the chance. He somehow has to alert my mom, brother and sister that we are seeing the show (there were no cell phones then). We not only get in the theatre but are seated at a VIP red velvet booth that is elevated for the best view, front and center of the stage. (Let’s just say these seats were equivalent to Jack Nicholson’s seats at the Lakers games!).
My Dad speaks with a waitress and asks if she will keep her eye on me while he goes and gets his wife. My Dad is not concerned as this booth is so big and elevated above the stage that I’m swallowed up in red velvet. He tells me not to move. In other words, I was left as a guard of the velvet booth:).
By the time my family returned I had been served 2 glasses of Cold Duck wine which I stared at knowing I wasn’t supposed to drink stuff in those kind of glasses. The whole time I’m wondering who is this Elvis guy.
After the show began I was mesmerized. No matter how young you are, you know charisma when you see it and Elvis Presley had it 10x over! We were so close to the stage we could see the sweat pouring off him as he wiped it with his orange scarves and then threw them out to women who were having out of body experiences. I remember thinking, “So this is what x-rated means!” An experience I will never forget!
My parents decided they wanted to see Sammy Davis Jr., another cultural icon. I only knew who he was because of his famous song, Candy Man.
Here I go again, hand in hand with my father to the front of the line that extended out into the street and around the block. As you may have guessed, I sat in the seat in the theatre while he went to get the rest of the gang.
I know what you’re thinking– Sidney paid the ushers off. Nope! Each usher received $5-$10 tip as was customary in that day. Did they THINK my Dad was going to give them big bucks for getting him in? If that was the case- guess they should have been aware of making assumptions! Possession is everything and once my tushie was in the seat–let the show begin!
My parents had to see Johnny Carson! Everyone who was a fan of the top rated Tonight Show wanted to see Johnny’s stand up show. My parents were big fans. The line was gynormous!! I didn’t even know who he was. My Dad ended our trip with a bang.
He always sensed when he was “on a roll” and this trip he was definitely on one. Momentum has a way of taking on a life of its own.
We witness this in sports with references like “he’s hot tonight” or “she is on fire!” This time my Dad asked for front row seats. And while I didn’t understand one joke, I can testify that Johnny Carson wore very nice shoes as I was close enough to touch them! lol:)
Learn to ask for what you want and instead of assuming you won’t get it, assume you will.
Most of us defeat ourselves before we even begin. Nine times out of ten maybe you won’t get the “yes,” but the “yes” you do get, may land you a hot date, a job promotion, a college acceptance, or maybe a sweaty scarf from Justin Bieber!