My Life

Why I Cried in a Vegas Comedy Club

I’m reminded tonight of my bleeding heart. The reminder came from a football game.

Coach Pete Adkins

I grew up in the Pete Adkins era of Jays Football. If you are from Missouri, you probably know what that means. Coach Adkins won a lot of football games. And his teams didn’t just win them. They slaughtered the other team. Every season the Jefferson City Jays would score 40, 50, 60-some points and the opposition would score “0”. Our high school and town took great pride in it year after year.
In high school, I wasn’t really thrilled about it but I didn’t really care too much either. Mostly, I just saw us as an overconfident, sometimes cocky school and community when it came to sports. It was fun to win games but it clearly went to our heads and other teams didn’t stand a chance. I love to win (who doesn’t) but would prefer a close game. I never played on a sports team and that is probably wise since I definitely lack a killer instinct.
After a few years where the Jays not only didn’t win by 60 points but didn’t win period, we are back to some Adkins-era scores this season – 36-0; 42-0. Tonight was another night and with all the cheers coming across Facebook, I was instead thinking of the other team. What a hard night for them – to play, possibly with everything they’ve got, and not score a single point. To come out on the field and face a giant and get trounced. My bleeding heart was stirred. I’m too soft for sports, I think.
Perhaps the lowest point for my bleeding heart came at a comedy club in Vegas. A few years ago, I went to Vegas for a long weekend with three girlfriends. It was the birthday weekend for one of the friends and this was her destination choice. We stayed at the Mirage hotel and spent the days doing a variety of things – sitting by the pool, shopping, sight-seeing, etc. Vegas is definitely not my type of town. I didn’t enjoy the crowds or most of the activities. Everything seemed to hurt my heart – watching folks spend hours and thousands of dollars in the casino, wondering whose lives, beside their own, they were throwing away with the dice; going to the shops and seeing the millions of dollars wasted on material things with zero worth; walking on paper advertisements selling girls – papers that litered the streets of Vegas.
By our last night in Vegas, I was emotionally drained and my heart was bleeding significantly. We had tickets to a local comedy club for our final night in Vegas and went to the show. The first two comedians were pretty funny – mostly self-deprecating humor. But the third comedian was just mean. He told joke after joke making fun of other people, the final straw being a joke about a boy with mental disabilities.
I was getting mad and wanted to punch his lights out. But instead tears started to flow and I knew what was coming. I told my friend I’d meet them outside after the show and rushed for the door as I began to just weep. My heart had had all it could stand.
I’m standing in the lobby, crying and trying to gain my composure when two guards approach me.

“Ma’am, are you alright? Do you need any help?”
“Yes, please. The comic is being mean. Please make him stop.”
(Of course I didn’t say that. I may be soft but I’m not an idiot. Instead, I replied ….)
“No, thank you. I’ll be fine. I just needed some fresh air.”

My friend swears she will never take me to Vegas again. And that is just fine by me and my bleeding heart.
What makes your heart bleed? Leave a comment here.


  • Melissa Duckett

    I think my personal worst is kids using “gay” and “fag” in the classroom. I make it clear early on those aren’t insults because there’s nothing wrong with that. My uncle is gay and lives in Australia now to be with his partner, since he couldn’t “marry” his partner and stay here. He’s a family joke to his siblings, but I always had a soft spot for him. This year I read a book where the kid goes to live with his gay uncle and the guy is the first loving supportive family he’s had. When I told the kids I really connected with the book and liked it and explained why, a few started to laugh. I just stood there, an adult 15 years older than them, and felt my eyes tear up. So I just stopped. I thought for a minute I was going to change the subject, or launch into something about respect. Finally I took a deep breath and told them they hurt my feelings. I said I liked my uncle a lot, and that’s the kind of thinking that got him taken away from me. I don’t have a lot of family close by and he lived in STL and I could see him and visit. Now I don’t even have that. Nothing is wrong with him; I love him. And I didn’t think it was fair they could make fun of him or people like him just because of who they loved. I didn’t yell, I said it pretty quietly, but I did notice that I didn’t look up once when I said it, just toyed with the book in my hands. But I also noticed their faces when I said that was my book review and I was interested in seeing theirs soon and moved on. Most of them looked sad, too, and those teasers seemed pretty thoughtful for once. So maybe I made a difference, but it kind of broke my heart. I’ve heard it for years and I’ve taken lots of different approaches, but I think it took breaking my heart in the middle of class to actually show them the effect their bullying has on people.

    • Melissa Hatfield

      Melissa – I am so sorry for that moment for you in the classroom but am grateful that you were able to perhaps break through their bullying with your heartfelt personal story. I always think that people can change if they could just feel the pain of others. That is somewhat naive because I know it doesn’t work that way but I think it does for some. Glad your uncle has an amazing niece like you to love and accept him!!

  • Genie

    I can so relate, Melissa! I confess that sometimes I even feel like crying when I read some of the posts of Facebook. Some of the things that folks get so hung up on seem so trivial compared to all the things going on in this world, in this state, in our town. I don’t often enough see people caring about those who are hurting, who are powerless and voiceless. I understand what you’re saying and my heart hurts, too.

    • Melissa Hatfield

      I agree with you on Facebook, Jeanie.  There are many times I hurt over things that are posted or comments made about others.  Even after all these years of “life”, I still find myself shocked at what people say about or to others and almost take it personally.  At least, the hurt feels personal.  And I know that there have been times in my life where people thought I was being hurtful of them or people they love.  If I did, I can honestly say it was unintentional or maybe a necessary consequence of life lessons.  When I have hurt someone, it kills me even when it is a part of growth.  My heart breaks to think I caused pain for someone.

      • Genie

        Agree. But I think it always causes pain to speak the truth in love to someone because we know it will hurt. But, if we didn’t feel some pain and actually enjoyed saying hard truths, then we likely wouldn’t be doing it with the best motives. Still wish it didn’t have to be that way.

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