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Certainty belongs to youth. When my daughter was in grade school, not that long ago, she had a habit of answering questions with the most assertive answer she could think of.

“I’m positive, Dad,” she would say. “It’s a 100 percent sure thing.”

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As I’m sure all readers of Gaming Today have learned through the years, whether passionate bettors or hunch followers, it is the sure-thing bet that burns you like a wildfire.

Unlike my daughter, I am less certain about anything today than I was as a younger man. The big difference in perspective between my children and their old man is that they think, as they should, that they will live forever, while I’m reminded on a regular basis that we’re all just a trickle of blood or an insidious growing cell inside our bodies away from the exit door.

I’ve been fooled by so many sure things in my lifetime that as the years float by the only thing of which I’m certain is that I have no absolute certainty about anything.

If there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic is teaching us it’s that an inadvertent sweaty handshake or nearby sneeze from a stranger carrying the virus can end our life. So we work from home, we wash our hands eight times a day, we fist-bump or elbow-knock with close friends to whom we used to give warm hugs and firm handshakes. Scary is an inadequate word for what we are all experiencing these days.

Here were a couple other “sure things” that Las Vegans were told they could count on through the years:

* It was thought at one point in the late 1960s and early ‘70s that Las Vegas was recession proof. The faulty theory was that even in bad times people will spend money on getaways and good times, and Vegas was deemed far more affordable than vacations in Hawaii or Europe.

The 9/11 tragedy, the dot-com bust, and the Great Recession of 2008 blew that theory totally to hell.

* It was thought to be a sure thing in the 1990s that if Las Vegas were ever to be home to a major sports franchise, it was half a century away from reality. That was because at least a dozen minor league sports teams, from hockey, to basketball, to soccer, to football had tried and failed to capture the hearts of the local market.

Yes, the Triple-A baseball team now known as the Aviators has survived admirably since 1983. But even the former Stars/51s have had plenty of bumps in the road on a path to their current success.

Yet here we are in 2020 with two big-league teams, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, in our backyard. I would have lost the house, the barn, the outhouse, and the tool shed betting against that happening in my lifetime.

* I was told some 40 years ago by several of the most respected attorneys in town that the idea of lawyers advertising their services on television was a temporary fad that would quickly die out. The practice was deemed far too unprofessional for a noble calling like the law.

But today, the number of local personal injury attorney ads on the tube is rivaled only by insurance companies. And the IQ level these ads are aimed at target a mass audience that spends the majority of its days watching the Kardashians, Swamp Hunters, Dr. Pimple Popper, and my 600-Lb Life.

These gleaming barristers roll up their sleeves, they sit on their Harleys with biceps bulging from two hours in the weight room, or they jam their fingers in your face proclaiming they will win you a fortune and charge you just a little. It makes you wonder what matchbook law school sold them their credentials.

Far from the comfort of relishing in sure things, we subside today in a period of global uncertainty and fears of how far and wide this new virus will spread. But with caution, common sense preventative measures, and the patience to ride out this latest storm, I’ll offer one other nearly sure thing — that Las Vegas will survive and endure, as it always has.

About the Author

Jack Sheehan

Vegas Vibe columnist Jack Sheehan has lived in Las Vegas since 1976 and writes about the city for Gaming Today. He is the author of 28 books, over 1,000 magazine articles, and has sold four screenplays.

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