By Michelle Railey
So, once upon a time, I had a blue million Las Vegas posts published here (or on the predecessor, Emerald Orange DOT com. Doesn’t exist anymore.)
It’s not a very interesting introductory sentence, I admit.
Once upon a different time, I was in Las Vegas. Sure, if you’ve ever been there, you have also walked past a universe of signs accompanied by people and sometimes dogs. Maybe they’re hungry, maybe they’re begging, maybe they’re part of the streetscape/character of the place.
Yeah, anyone who has visited Vegas in the past twenty years has managed the true panhandlers, the panhandlers with dogs; the photo opp costume crew; the porno card tappers. We’ve finessed our way to ogle the Bellagio past an endless series of movie characters, hoboes, the truly desperate, the “end of the world” crew. Oh. And so much marijuana fumes.
(And can we just say we love the panhandle puppy crew?)
We’re fussy (I’m fussy) and don’t so much love the dead skunk reek of marijuana but we/I don’t judge that. We/I just don’t like the smell.
Here we are in the time of COVID/SARS-Cov-2 and, welp, the thought of getting on an airplane unvaccinated kinda (totally) throws us into a panic attack.
Still, we keep wanting to go back to Las Vegas. To work, to live (maybe) but mostly just to visit and vacation.
(We don’t know why we’re using the subject form “we” but “we” are going to stick with it.)
We’ve seen fabulous damn signs by the panhandlers in Vegas, advertising, oh yeah, everything.
But the best sign we ever saw was the doofus wanting people to kick him in the ‘nads for 20 bucks.
(‘Nads is short for gonads and is a twentieth and twenty-first century vernacular colloquial shorthand for balls, testicles, nuts, rocks, plums, et cetera).
So anyhow, while we were thinking we should buy Diet Coke and sell it on one of the bridge/over-street crossing-things (and seriously, we’d make a damn fortune because Diet Coke is NOT easy to find in Sin Fucking City), we eventually walked down onto a sidewalk and found this guy.
Scrawny guy holding a sign.
Now, lots of scrawny guys in Las Vegas hold cardboard signs. Sometimes they have dogs, which we really love.
Sometimes, they have opinions, say on politics, or the end of the world. (We walk really fast past these guys.) And we love these much, much less than any guy with a cardboard sign who also has a dog.
Now, truth be told, walking past any of these cardboard sign-holders makes us want to contact our senators, distribute orange juice and sandwiches, blankets and antibiotic and lecture the entire world about wealth and distribution and healthcare and any number of things.
That’s not the point.
The point is… (Is it really a point? I think not.) (Still, the cardboard signs really make us/me/we question the whole “superpower” “richest country in the world” thing.)
Ok. So there was just once this time in Las Vegas, this scrawny ass guy, holding up a sign and legitimately asking to be KICKED IN THE BALLS for TWENTY DOLLARS.
And this poor young man couldn’t even spell “nuts” correctly. (And the apostrophe— it burns the eyes, really.) (We are not going to hazard a guess about scholastic background here.)
Still, this is, after several jaunts to the Las Vegas Strip, my (our) most favorite, favorite cardboard sign.
“No cup. No joke.”
Sheer poetry, my friend.
We briefly tried to research graphology and handwriting analysis for that reverse epsilon “E” that Scrawny Nut Guy wrote. (Super briefly but once back in roughly 1999, we skimmed a book in Barnes and Noble that intimated that the use of that loopy, backwards Greek “E” meant something. But we can’t remember what.)
We remember the liar’s crook, though. A quick, random internet search is disappointing us, so we’ll give you the lowdown here:
Now, back in the day, these backward hook/crook things were what somebody’s first boyfriend wrote. Only later did I/me/we/someone learn that these damn things were called the “liar’s crook.”
By the way, dear Internets, apparently you can’t substantiate this through Google but in the early 1990s if you consulted the right damn book this was a thing.
Late 1980s too, but who’s counting?
NOT THE POINT.
The “Nutt’s” (and I quote there) are the point.
Mr. No Cup, No Joke, Kick Me in the Nutt’s is, in fact, one of my most prized Las Vegas memories.
Also a quite sad commentary on economic well-being and the public school system.
But still, a better use of cardboard—-well, I can’t imagine.
For what it’s worth, I did not kick this guy in his “Charlie Browns.” I did not offer. My/Our companions did not take this guy up on his offer. We did, however, give him a buck to take a picture of that sign.
It’s been a handful of years now and we/I keep wondering if this guy was for real; if he was that desperate or this was just some kind of funny joke. An art project, even.
We/I don’t know.
We/I lingered a bit but never saw anyone take the guy and his cardboard sign up on the offer. We/I would like to think no one ever did.
We/I’d like to think of the sign itself as excellent performance art. You know, the way that all of Las Vegas is, in fact, kinda performance art.
And that’s the story we’re going to stick with. Because if this guy was serious…
But of course he wasn’t.
“Kick me in the Nutt’s”. LOL.
Looking for more Vegas content? We’ve/I’ve recently fell very much in love with this site and all its social media variants: VitalVegas.com (and seriously, follow this guy on Twitter. So much fun.) Also? We here on Amos have written and stuff about Las Vegas before. Check it: here.