So I recently found myself in a Chuck E. Cheese. Okay, I didn’t just appear there nor was I warped there. I went for my nephew’s birthday party. I took the G train to Northern Boulevard in Queens. That still didn’t stop me from repeatedly asking myself…”How did I get here?”
To call a bunch of New York City kids let loose in a virtual child wonderland unruly, is being kind. There was ticket theft, line skipping, game cheating and, although I didn’t witness it personally, I’m pretty sure some pizza swiping went down as well. To be fair, some of the game cheating was just the children and parents not knowing how to play the games. I saw one guy throwing balls at the Skee* ball machine. Throwing!! I’m from Coney Island so I’m a Skee ball aficionado. My Grandmother and I could have gone pro in Mixed Age, Mix Generation Doubles Skee ball (if there were pro Skee ball and if…) To see a grown man teaching his son to throw a Skee ball was sacrilegious and hilarious all at the same time. It doubled me over with laughter…or was it outrage that sent my head to my knees?
QSN: It seemed the immigrant parents were the worse of the Skee ball offenders. Not only throwing the ball but also walking on the machine and placing the ball directly into the hole. Of course this made the machine tilt. To be fair to them though, I went to Japan once and I was thrown by Pachinko. And I’m sure if you put a Bocce ball in my hand without any instruction, I would ask for a bat.
In the end my nephew was terrified by the sight of Chuck E. Cheese. He finally begrudgingly came around as we kept smiling and showing that Chuck E. wasn’t too bad a guy by going over and touching him and taking pictures. We’re from New York; of course we don’t like a rat. And maybe Chuck E. is not a rat but any “mouse” that stands 6ft tall is for all intents and purposes…a rat! (Mickey Mouse being the lone adorable exception) Plus, NYC has become overrun with actual rats on the subway and on the streets. We’re sending our kids a mixed message.
PARENT: Stay away from those rats on the street. They’re riddled with disease….Oh Chuck E.? That 6ft monstrosity?…oh he’s cool.
If you really want to prevent teen pregnancy, don’t give high school girls an egg or a bag of flour to carry around for a week. No, send them to Chuck E. Cheese. It’s the scared straight of teen debauchery. I’m pretty sure the two high school girls who flank Chuck E. and sing Happy Birthday every 20 minutes won’t get preggers until an appropriate age. Also, singing Happy Birthday to unappreciative kids and parents with a guy in a rat suit probably inspires them to have good grades as well. Lest they be relegated to this type of work forever. So, Chuck E. is also the scared straight of awful jobs.**
*Skee Ball – Wonderful arcade game that I play better than you.
** All honest work is fine by me but…you know…