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?