Atlantic City is a town where you're supposed to believe all things are possible. And sometimes, it works a little magic for you. If there's a place where the concept of "sold out" is as fungible as this seaside resort, I haven't been there yet. Last year, I thought it was pretty nifty when I walked up to the box office at a long sold out Steely Dan concert at the Borgata and was promptly sold two front row center seats, with an explanation that a high roller probably was still rolling and wouldn't be able to make it (perhaps not as long as Patricia Demauro, who set a record at the Borgata Saturday night for hanging in at the craps table for four hours and 18 minutes with a $100 buy-in. The casino will not say how much she won.) On Saturday night, I showed up last minute with my daughter at the sold out Penn & Teller show at Harrah's and was given massive frowns at the box office and told the show was beyond sold out and there was no way we'd be able to get in. So, we just kind of hung around a minute or so, until someone in a suit with a Harrah's name tag walked by. Calling on two decades of experience showing up at places on deadline and having to locate the muckety-muck who can give you what you need immediately, I figured, nothing to lose, and asked this guy, any way my daughter and I can get inside? He paused, looked us over, both of us in flip flops, my daughter in pj pants, figured we were maybe worth being nice to, just because, and told us to just wait by the box office. Then he immediately had another thought, and said, "Well, I have an extra single ticket" and opened an envelope and just handed the thing over to us. Then he started to walk inside the theater, followed by another mom with her kids. I figured, what the heck and just followed them in. The waters parted, the ushers knew who he was and we were all shown to our seats in, where else? _ front row, center. Turned out the guy was indeed a high up in casino land, though I don't know who exactly, and the other mom was a relative and my daughter and I were, well, lucky nobodies. Penn & Teller were great, with their shifting now you're in on the joke, now the joke's on you paradigm, though I'm still a little unsettled that the woman from the audience refused to throw the knife at Penn with her eyes open, but once she was blind folded, was perfectly content to send a deadly weapon in his direction, but, to be honest, the best trick was ending up with the best seats in the house, without pulling any strings (having none to pull) but simply asking. In Atlantic City, you never know.
Previously on Downashore: Hello Pennsylvania!