I really can't relate the trauma that was a visit to the "racino" in Saratoga. I'm not a gambler anyway, and I think that stuffing money into video slot machines is about the most pathetic form of gambling known to man. So imagine a gambling palace with second-class harness racing and a giant hall of nothing but video slot machines. Add tacky carpet, tacky patrons and a strict minimum boob size for waitresses, and you've got a sense of that particular hell. I was really ready to get a head full of acid just to deal with the place. The purpose of our visit, however, was sound -- our first chance ever to see the Gin Blossoms (from Tempe, Arizona, as they reminded us repeatedly). I have a personal theory that the Gin Blossoms were the Raspberries of the '90s, and that their tiny output of two major label albums only hinted at their great songwriting ability. Now they're back on the road and supporting a new album that sounds like a perfect continuation of where they left off. But even better than getting a night out to hear real rock 'n' roll was getting to see them in the only venue for rock, a small club. We were right up front; well, behind the drunken frat boys -- and guys, here's the thing: there's no such thing
as a "dancefloor bro." Either be gay or stop pawing each other when you're drunk. Make a choice. Also, and I can't emphasize this enough to you youngsters, it is NOT amazing, surprising, worthy of high fives, or in any way a recognition of your influence when a band plays its best-known hit near the end of the show. They were going to do that. Trust me on this. Anyway, great show, good time bouncing up and down next to the girl I'm always bouncing up and down next to, and I really liked the club. I hadn't been out to a small club in so long that I didn't even realize you can now come away without being sick from the cigarette smoke (though it's still not possible to avoid having drinks spilled on you -- see "drunken frat boys," above) and having a miserable headache the next day.
The only bit of odd excitement on the way home was a stop at a sobriety checkpoint, where I suddenly realized that I was sucking on a ginger Altoids which I suddenly conflated with trying to cover up liquor breath, and even though I took my last drink in the Reagan administration I quickly choked down that ginger and hoped it didn't get caught in my throat. Then I misunderstood which trooper I was to stop at and couldn't remember the name of the place I'd been. I'm no good at border crossings, either.
By the way, there are no Seminoles involved in the "racino." I'm just in a Zevon mood these days.