How to Tell Tom from Las Vegas

This is an earlier draft of an essay that appears in my collection of essays which you should, of course, own right? Why? Well, let me tell you why you should buy the Raised by Turtles book.

I have a look that is apparently fairly common and people are often mixing me up with other people and with Las Vegas. I’m not sure of any easy shortcut to explain how to tell me from Amir Kierdan, but I have some tips for people to help tell me apart from Las Vegas.

vegas and tom

So if you are looking at something and are trying to decide whether you’re lookin at me or Las Vegas, run down this checklist and by the end you should know one way or the other.

Las Vegas


All NightAll Day
Cigarette SmokeWood Smoke
Mini BarChin-up Bar
Bell HopsBarbells
Slot MachinesSlot Canyons
Speaks English in ParisSpeaks French in Paris
Dean MartinDean Karnazes (author of Ultramarathon Man, one of my all-time favorite books)
Air ConditioningPhysical Conditioning
Noxious fumes from car exhaustNoxious fumes from beans
Stretch LimoExtended Cab
High-class EscortFord Escort
Dance RevueBook Review
CaesarCicero (defender of the republic)
Fake Renaissance ArchitectureGenuine Renaissance History
StilettosSwiss Army Knives
Neon LightsLED Headlamp
Scaled Down (Eiffel Tower, State of Liberty, etc)Actual Size
Larger than LifeActual size
Red BullRed Zinger (climb in Yosemite)
Siegfried and RoyBen and Jerry
Bette MidlerClaude Fiddler
Wayne NewtonWayne Merry (1st ascent of El Cap)
Casino RoyaleRoyal Robbins (1st ascent of Half Dome)
Celine DionLouis-Ferdinand Céline
David CopperfieldTale of Two Cities

This was originally written for a friend or two who know me well enough to get all the references. I’ve added links or short annotations for some of the obscure ones or to clarify why I like Cicero better than Caesar, for example. Some are just what they appear — Tale of Two Cities is my favorite Dickens tale and I like it better than David Copperfield, Great Expectations or A Christmas Carol, though at this point I would be hard-pressed to remember any details of any of them. Several others are obvious if you know that I’m a climber and trail runner and live in Yosemite — Royal Robbins, Wayne Merry, Claude Fiddler, Red Zinger (the climb, not the tea), Dean Karnazes. Some are just my predilections — asceticism and Q&A. Anyway, I would guess that my wife and I are the only ones who fully understand that list, but so be it.

Comments are closed.