Monday, May 21, 2007

A Cheesy Outing

Beware doing anything just because you have nothing better to do. The other day I accompanied some friends to Chuck E. Cheese’s to celebrate one of their kid’s birthday. Well, perhaps “celebrate” isn’t the right word. “Endure” is more descriptive.

If you have had children in the post-Reagan years, you’re probably familiar with the planned parties that this establishment can host for about the price of a small nuclear submarine. We didn’t do that. But that didn’t stop us from suffering through someone else’s. We were sitting there minding our own business when out of nowhere a voice shouted “Here he is, Chuck E. Cheese!” at a volume I hadn’t heard since attending a Metallica concert. Then some retarded music played while several large stuffed animals moved their arms and jaws along with it. I was immediately overcome with the fear that when I go to Hell (and I will), my soul will spend eternity at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Fire and brimstone I can deal with, but dorky mechanical animals Milli Vanillying bad songs would torture me worse than a three-way with Rosie O’Donnell and Janet Reno.

We ate some truly marginal pizza. I wasn’t surprised since the place caters to small children who don’t know the difference. Going to Chuck E. Cheese’s for great Italian food would be like going to the Middle East for great pork.

The kids had a great time playing all the games. The way it works is you sell your car and use the money to buy five pounds of tokens, which kids spend at the rate of the national debt as they play skee-ball, whack-a-mole, air hockey, etc. Depending on how well they do, they receive a certain number of tickets, which can be redeemed for valuable prizes. For a mere $150, one of my friend’s kids won 238,000 tickets, which they turned in for three pens and a paper clip, which isn’t a bad deal when you consider what the Federal Government pays for these items.

The highlight of the day was when I crawled in the “sky tubes”. I accompanied some of my friends’ kids in this human rat maze, which is designed for kids under 10, or adults with the IQ of an appliance bulb. I crawled and grunted and sweated, and it was a lot of fun except for the blinding pain in my kneecaps. The entire apparatus was covered with a layer of grease from the hands of children after having just eaten world-class pizza, and I made a mental note to boil my hands as soon as I got home.

All in all, I’d say the experience was a lot more fun than a sharp stick in the eye. If you plan an excursion to this place of business, all you’ll need to bring are a stomach pump, a bottle of bleach, and the deed to your house.