In the last two nights, unintentionally, I've watched two different movies that have to do with---shall we call it--drinking to excess while in Las Vegas. I realized that I've never had a chance to go to Las Vegas for a night of drunken debauchery with my friends but that I don't need to travel all that way to sin and have remourse.
The first movie, "The Hangover," is a raunchy movie and I could not recommend it to anyone with any sense. I happen to have not sense though and thought it was hilarious. It's about four guys who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. They wake up the next morning with a chicken in their room, a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom. The only thing that was not in the room was the groom and no one can remember what happened the night before. So they spend the rest of the movie trying to retrace their steps so they can figure out what happened.
The second movie, "What Happens in Vegas" is about a guy and girl who do not know each other and are having issues back home go to Las Vegas to let loose. Once in Las Vegas, they meet each other, get drunk, get married and happen to win $3 million in a slot machine. They both want the money but they are married. Back home the judge makes them stay together for six months and the rest of the movie is about them being together when they don't really want to be.
Both movies have the same catelyst--a night in Las Vegas and what happens when you drink to excess. Unfortunately, instead of being a warning against hedonistic behavior, the movies probably actually encourage people to want to go to Vegas. It's supposed to be a place of good times! It's where you can party and do whatever you want because no one will ever find out. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Like I mentioned above, we don't need to go to Nevada in order to misbehave. We don't need to go to Sin City in order to sin. And we don't need to wake up in a hotel room missing a tooth in order to have regrets. Heck, I do this on a daily basis right here from Kansas City. It may not rise to the level of marrying a stripper or stealing something from Mike Tyson but I misbehave, sin and have regrets right here in Cowtown.
Over the years as I've matured spiritually and with the grace of God, I've done better. I've learned to control my vices, I've learned to bite my tongue, I've learned to look at the girl in the eyes and not below the collar. The problem comes in when I don't follow those lessons I've learned and I do what I know I shouldn't. Sometimes it takes me to the next day to realize the sin. Often it's right afterwards that I feel like a horse's backside.
Fortunately, we have reconciliation. Unfortunately, I screw up enough that I have a spread sheet with all of the parishes in a 30 mile radius and when they have confession. Oh boy, confession. I'm a fan. You know that feeling of dread when you do wake up in the morning with the hangover wondering what you did the night before or worse KNOWING what you did the night before?
You know that feeling after let loose with that verbal jab and you see the pain in your target's eyes and you feel like a total donkey. Confession somehow takes away that dread and remorse.
The fact of the matter is I would still like to Las Vegas with a bunch of friends to have a good time. I trust myself to behave and to be responsible. But just in case, I might like to take a priest friend with me. Fr. Jim!! Are you available???????