Monday, October 08, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese: Where a Kid Can Be a Kid and a Nonce Can Be a Nonce

First off, the Cubs broke my heart, and in a related matter, my days on the wagon came to an end. I tried to stay on the straight and narrow, I really did, but Alphonso Soriano literally shoved me off the wagon. As a result, I arrived late to the suburban Chuck E. Cheese (a kiddie arcade, in case you're not familiar, and thank your lucky stars if you're not), where my mom, dad, sister, and her three kids were fully engrossed into Chuck E. Cheese heaven or hell, depending upon which end of twelve-years-old each given family member was.

My first observation was that the guy at the door just unhooked the velvet ropes for me as I walked in without so much as batting an eye. I guess checking I.D. wouldn't make much sense, but shouldn't I have had a kid with me? I could of been some big ol' child molester waltzing in there, ready for an Osh-Kosh-B'Gosh-Damn good time. If Gary Glitter, or any other nonce, which is the British slang for sex offender, is reading my blog right now, then I just inadvertently gave him a money-ass tip for prime noncing. Okay, the implications of this paragraph are in really poor taste, but too funny to delete, so let's just move on.

If you really want to feel like a loser, show up hungover to your local Chuck E. Cheese. Do you ever get so hungover that your body is all out of wack, and dumb thoughts pop in your head as a result? I was looking at the rubbery pizza thinking, "That might be the shittiest looking pizza I've ever seen. I would eat the shit out of that right now." I had a fleeting thought pass of taking a cold, leftover, no-doubt, snot-coverd slice, but I maintained . . .

When I was a kid Chuck E. Cheese was called Showbiz Pizza, and it was ruled on high by hillbilly bear, I think he was a bear anyway, Billy Bob, and his rocking, animated, fuzzy, robotic band. The band's female member was a mouse, who didn't play anything, but instead opted to provide the cheerleading. Maybe Toni Basil inspired her, I don't know, but in any event, I remember a young Gancer's curiosity getting the best of him, as he stuck his head up her skirt to get a peak. To his surprise there were stars under that there skirt! That's right, seven readers, I poked my heard up there just in time to get walloped in the head with a pom-pom, which wouldn't be a big deal, but the bitch had metal hands! There are metaphors for my life all over this little tale, right?

So, as I'm handing my nephew one token at a time, it occurs to me that when he's all out of tokens, I get to go home. This is when I steered him over to the big jack-pot, ticket-getting machine. It's this one where you have to stop the light right on the jackpot. Does anyone else think these places are the first, little steps a kid takes towards becoming a video game junkie, and even worse, a degenerate gambler? Call me a dick, but I kept telling him how close he was, getting his hopes up, handing him more and more tokens, until we were all out. Hey, don't look at me like that! He still got a bunch of tickets each time he missed the target, he had fun, and he got to purchase some useless crap with those hard-earned tickets.

The Useless Crap Counter is the worst part of Chuck E. Cheese, because you're so close to going home at that point, yet so very, very far. Each kid deliberates over whether to get a ring-pop or a whoopee cushion for the better part of an hour, while the pimply, rightfully-disgruntled kid behind the counter subtracts numbers from the total after each carefully selected item is placed onto the counter, and he considers either taking a job at McDonald's instead or mowing down his Algebra class with the AK-47 he'll buy online that night.

As I helped my nephew bag up his useless crap it occurred to me that I still had to get my mom a birthday card, which is why the whole fam-damnly was meeting up that day, so I suggested that my favorite nephew, don't tell the others, accompany me next door to get a card and then ride home with me. He told me about a card he almost bought that said, "Mom, there's nothing stronger than your love, except for maybe dad's farts." I really wish he hadn't told me about that card, because there was no way I was going to find a funnier one than that. I share his fourth grade sense of humor. We then did a Price Is Right scratch-off together, only to lose, further encouraging his inevitable gambling habit, and we were on our way. During the car ride, he told me how dirty my car was, that he was getting straight A's, that his dad might get him an iPod if he stops losing stuff (?) and I just smiled. I know I can't compete with Chuck E. Cheese, but I know he was happy to get one-on-one attention from his favorite uncle, and I was feeling good about our man-to-man chat too. This is what his asshole dad doesn't get. The prick takes him to Great America or something every time he sees him, which is not what a kid from a freshly divorced family needs. He needs solo time with his old man, and his old man needs to leave his new, home-wrecking girlfriend at home. God, I'd like to hit that fuck-stick in the head with a pom-pom with a hard, metal hand underneath.

Okay, that was a long post and I'm sorry I ended on an angry note like that. Let's just do the usual discussion and be done with it.

Hey, Seven Readers, where was your favorite place in the world when you were a kid? A place you could go and not have a care in the world? Where's that place now?


RevRee said...

coming from a big family (8 kids) we never got to go to showbiz pizza. Instead my mom would offer to buy a bunch of Tombstone pizzas and cook them at home...

hamburger helper said...

as if i didn't have enough reason to see a shrink....but my favorite childhood spot would be the thorne rooms at the art institute.

it's a collection of miniature rooms in the basement of the museum. you know, like a complete replica of an early victorian dining room and stuff like that.

why couldn't i have normal childhood memories like chuck e. cheese or wisconsin dells or kiddieland?

no, i had the 'cultured parents'. sure, we all scored well on the SATs, but i have a feeling we missed out on a ton of cool stuff.

dr. noisewater....if you notice that i've become a 'museum mom', feel free to hit me over the head with a gigantic metal mouse hand.

non-Blondie said...

Movies...because it was always a special occasion and we didnt have a tv at home until I was in high school. Also got to pig out on overpriced junk food...mmm stale popcorn, choc-tops, bags of jaffas and minties (Aussie food).
Theres not really an equivalent now. Sigh.

carolyn says said...

i was also a big movie fan. my dad was the projectionist at one of our local movie theaters my brother and i spent most weekends there. i saw back to the future like 20 times.

and rooftops (capoeira and break dancing, on rooftops, genius!)
and desperately seeking susan
and dirty dancing
and supergirl
and who's that girl
and ghostbusters
and a million others.

i still love going to movies by myself, especially on weekday afternoons when the theater is all quiet and mellow. it makes me feel peaceful

Kadonkadonk said...

I loved going to Terry Andrae park near Sheboygan with the fam. until I burned the shit out of my hand doing something stupid on a dare. That place is gorgeous though.

Mr. Shife said...

I can relate to that hangover you experienced at Chucks. My favorite place to go as a kid was Busch Memorial Stadium with my Grandad. He would take me there every time I visited in the summer. I loved that place, and I love the new ball park as well. As an adult, I like going to the Thai Steam baths with fat middle aged hairy beasts of men. I look forward to doing this for the rest of my life.

classyandfancy said...

Past carefree spot: Mainstreet USA Roller Rink, even though my friend and I always managed to find two other girls there that we hated. Maybe I was jealous of the height of their bangs.

Present carfree spot: The hoochie momma store. I don't know if it's the sensory overload of the multitude of synthetic fabrics that does it, but I go in there, my mind goes blank & then I find peace.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Tombstones are better than Showbiz/Chuckie E. Cheese. Your momma was right to phone it in.

Helper: That is nerd style!! At least you grew up with some culture, right?

Blondie: I don't know what the hell any of those British snacks are. I just know jellie bellies, because Doctor Who ate them.

Carolyn: That's an easy job, right, movie projector guy? What a great hook-up!

Donk: What were you dared to do?

Shife: Steam baths with big hairy guys, huh? I'm . . . Disgusted? Jealous? Horny? A little of each?

Starting shit with girls at the roller rink as a kid, and getting off buying trashy clothes as an adult. THAT is why you're classy and fancy.

Mighty Dyckerson said...

The Chuck E. Cheese in my neighborhood closed 10 years ago. It's a titty bar now. Oddly enough, the decor is still the same.

captain corky said...

I liked being outside when I was a kid, but it's been so long that I can't really remember what it's like.

non-Blondie said...

Aussie snacks, Dr Ken! Minties are really hard chewy mints - slightly tougher than a hard toffee, but mints! Camping specialty. Also good for pulling loose teeth. Jaffas are like m&ms, but orange flavoured and like little round balls. Choc-tops you must know: the old school chocolate dipped icecream cones.
The more you know, right?
Don't get me started on British snacks. I see prawn cocktail flavoured crisps everywhere so I try not to experience it.

non-Blondie said...

And Jelly Bellys are American! They're the tiny ones with all the cool flavours. In England & Australia we have jelly beans and they're in gross flavours that taste mainly of sugar and wax.

Way to take over your comments section! And you say I'm never here...

5 of 9er said...

My mom always called that place Chester's Chuck-Ups.

Scary Monster said...

Me gonna answer ya question, but it ain't gonna make sense.

Me favorite place to be as a kid were sittin on top of the garage/storage buildings that lined the area behind the row of garden apartments me family lived in fer a time. Climbing up there and laying on the rooftops, watching the sunset were some of the best memories of me childhood. Me felt so damned tall way up there.

Now Me just tries to enjoy anyplace that me happens to find meself in and if a woman be involved well, that's just icing on the cake.


carolyn says said...

according to my dad it is a very difficult job (or at least used to be with the older projectors) and you HAVE to be a union member to do it and it is a shame, an absolute shame the way movie theaters are run these days. he;s just the tiniest bit bitter about losing that job, it was a good place to hide his playboys from my mom (but not my older brother)

Diesel said...

Man, I hate those places. Remember when they changed from Showbiz to Chuck E. Cheese, but kept the same song?

Out here we have a place called John's Incredible Pizza, or, as we call it, John's Inedible Pizza.

Drunken Chud said...

actually ken, and diesel, Chuck E. Cheese was originally Chuck E. Cheese, then became showbiz from the late 80's through the 90's and became Chuck E. Cheese again. but they kept all the same shit, the dancing band and all that.

actually, i just wiki-ed it and apparently, it could have been regional. you may have had an original showbiz which was founded in 1980 and bought out chuck e cheese's in '84. then in 1992 they all became chuck's again. wow, learn something new every day. apparently chuck's was founded by the guy who founded atari, and showbiz by some guy who was a holiday inn franchisee. oh, and showbiz was basically the inbred southern cousin to chuck's which started 3 years before showbiz. yeah... hill billy dancing bears... huge below the mason dixon line.

and chuck's was one of my favoritest places to go as a kid. holy shit that place was huge and awesome. thus making HUSOME or AWUGE.

Laaw-yuhr said...

My old happy place was the playground swingset.

My new happy place is the National Gallery.

Airam said...

I've never been to chuck e cheese. And I always figured you'd need a kid with you to get in. You know .. because of the whole child molestation thing.

Basically this comment is re-wording a part of your post. Not very insightful. I'm sorry.

Scary Monster said...

Me been thinkin 'bout this.

Pizza be serious biziness and they should outlaw anything that makes it less than a religious experience. Then again stickin yer head up the skirt of a animatronic mouse could be considered ecclesiastical to a kid.

Kinda like the last line in 2001 Space Oddesy.


Grad School Reject said...

I grew up in a rural part of Maryland, but whenever my dad took me to Baltimore to see an Orioles game it was like going to heaven. The park was huge (this was old Memorial Stadium - pre Camden Yards) and getting to see Cal Ripken jr. play was a highlight. We only could afford to go once or twice a season but they were the best days.

zen wizard said...

That was a funny post, right there...I remember the computer dude at the last place I worked took his kids to Chuck E. Cheese and got sicker than shit.

How, exactly, do you fuck up a pizza?

He kept saying, like a mantra, "One day too, you will experience Chuck E. Cheese..."

Apparently his impression also was that you had to look like a Clearasil "before" picture to even get a job there.

My favorite place as a kid?

I am ashamed to say it, but it was K-Mart.

I used to be enthralled by those Green Light Specials. It was always some crap you didn't want on Green Light Special, but something about that light. (And this was WAY before I started doing acid...)

Eve said...


Now, it's Chinatown. I'm weird, I know.

Steph said...

A fast food place with "chuck" in it's title can NOT be good.

That pizza looked gross.

BottleBlonde said...

You may not be able to kick it with Asian neighbors, but you sure are a good uncle, Doc.

My favorite place was the playground, where I'd entertain my friends by singing Karma Chameleon in my best tranny voice. No joke.

My favorite place now? Bed.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Dyk: I shudder to think where one sticks the tokens.

Cork: Don't you love not going out for a whole day, like on a Sunday?

Blondie: You're making all those snacks up.

9er: Your mom's moniker is far more accurate.

Monster: That makes perfect sense. I used to love pondering life with my feeble, 7-year-old mind, from a little nook up in the tree in my front yard. That and Wrigley field are the two spots for me, and I think I'd rather go to the burbs and climb my old ass up that tree than watch the Cubs these days.

Car: You simply cannot hide Playboys from a young, curious, horny, little boy. Impossible. He'll search Hell and high water for those mags.

Dies: John really set himself for that one, didn't he?

Chud: Here's an article from the Chicago Tribune about a guy who has the Showbiz band in his house, doing his bidding:

And here's a clip of that very band playing a shitty Evenescence, or whoever, song with lead vocals by the Mouse singer who gave me my first woody and concussion.

Law: I used to go swing on the swings forever. Did you ever try to swing so hard that you thought you could flip over the pole?

Airam: You and I are just too logical and child-safety-minded to get jobs as Chuck E. Cheese CEO's. When are you getting me that interview?

Scary: Thanks for commenting a second time, and damn near making Mountain Dew squirt out my nose.

Drop-Out: I have fond memories of Chicago Stadium, where the Bulls and Hawks used to play, even though we always sat in the nose-bleeds where all the players' heads were cut off by the overhang-thing.

Zen: Thanks for the props, and any time you want to drop acid and hit the local K Mart, I'm game.

Eve: I don't know what Pow-Wow's is, but I can see why a gal would like China Town, what with all the knock-off purses.

Steph: Their pizza is crap, and grossness of it ups the chances of a kid barfing after jumping around in those plastic balls for 2 hours.

Bottle: I'd like to join you in your current favorite place real soon. If you want to do some of that singing from your former favorite place, that's cool too, but just make sure I'm finished first.

Ms. Laaw-yuhr said...

P.S. I sooooo used to try to swing around the pole. But when that failed, I learned to swing as high as I could and then jump out and land on my feet. Completely awesome.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Law: You did NOT swing over the pole. Can't be done.

I was one hell of a swingset jumper though.

When you were synced up with the person next to you, did you say that you were married with that person?


just so you know they have the best bread sticks..and I do admit to choosing that place to take my boys after going out for the night with my still single friends and facing a hangover..Chucky cheese is will assist you with getting rid of the husband and I LOVE THAT PLACE! :)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Crusty: Seems like kind of a noisy and annoying place to nurse a hangover, but whatever works!