While many students go to Europe to “find themselves” following graduation, University undergraduate alum Rick Lax chose a different location after his graduation from law school: Las Vegas. In his second book, “Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas,” which came out last month, Lax takes readers through his tales and encounters of deceit in Sin City.

Lax isn’t new to the author experience. At the age of 26, Lax had graduated from DePaul School of Law and had already published a memoir on that experience, a book entitled “Lawyer Boy: A Case Study on Growing Up.” Though most of his peers tend to journey to Europe following their graduations, Lax decided to make the sojourn to Las Vegas.

“They go to Europe to go and ‘find themselves,’ ” Lax said in a recent interview with The Michigan Daily. “I am pretty sure that is code for just doing drugs in Europe. For me, I don’t like backpacking, I like to be indoors and I like air conditioning, so I wanted to come to Vegas.”

“Fool Me Once” leads readers through the casinos of the Vegas Strip and into a world full of fear and deception. Lax has come to Sin City on a mission: to figure out a way to outsmart predators and to not be duped.

“In Chicago, the girl that I had been dating at the time — she got conned by a drug dealer, and that scared the shit out of me,” Lax said. “I wanted to make sure something like that would never happen to me or anyone else I cared about. I wanted to learn more about deception, and Vegas seemed like the right place to do it.”

Lax understands the overall irony of a law graduate moving to Las Vegas to learn more about lying.

“That’s the joke that I deal with every day,” he said. “I am constantly explaining to people that I don’t think lawyers lie more frequently than most people — I think it’s less. The penalties for getting caught lying in a courtroom are very severe.”

His wacky adventures in the book demonstrate that he has accomplished his goal. Lax does not believe that he has been deceived at all since his arrival to Sin City — his experiences during the period his memoir describes have heightened his sense of doubt.

“It hurt me spending so much time with deceivers because it has made me an overly skeptical person,” Lax said.

Still, after two-and-a-half years, Lax remains spellbound by Las Vegas. In his second year as a full-time writer for Las Vegas Weekly, he continues to explore the wonders of the city.

Despite his current profession, Lax, who was a political science major in his undergraduate years, never thought of himself as a “writer” while a student at the University — Lax noted that he only took one writing class, a class that was taught by current LSA English Prof. Tish O’Dowd.

“Professor O’Dowd was wonderful and gave fantastic notes on my stories,” Lax said. “And that kind of gave me a feeling of what it was like to have a really good editor go through your stuff.”

While still a student, Lax had two of his plays produced through Basement Arts: a collection of comedy sketches titled “Who Are You” and a piece for the 24-hour theater.

Lax was also a writer for both the Daily’s Arts and News sections. He covered a number of stories and faced a synthesis of the two sections when he covered the union strike at the first opened Borders Books on East Liberty Street.

Though Lax didn’t want to be labeled or categorized as a writer throughout college, it’s clear that he did have a way with words – both visually and orally. For instance, when he was unsatisfied with the lack of student representation on the Ann Arbor City Council, he decided he would run for election himself. Though he did not end up winning, the election proved to be a worthy experience, as he later tackled law school.

Time will tell if Lax plans to captivate courtrooms anytime soon, but at the moment he’s enjoying writing and colliding with the colorful characters that make up the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas.

“I don’t have any lofty goals (when writing),” Lax said. “I just like money, attention and sex.”

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