The weekend rolls around again. The play dates have all been play dated, the movies have all been seen and there is NOTHING TO DO. “What do you want to do this weekend?” I ask my children hoping they will suggest something doable, affordable and tolerable, but they just shrug in that ever adorable childlike way and say, “I don’t know.” Friday afternoon turns into Friday evening and I ask the children again if there is anything they would like to do, hoping some words of wisdom to escape them, but the answer remains the same. It is almost bedtime when I finally say it. The words come out of my mouth in slow motion as if I am watching a train coming towards me but am powerless to move out of it’s way, “Would you like to go to Chuck E. Cheese?” And so I have sealed my fate.
Saturday afternoon arrives as I enter the third circle of hell. I am greeted by the smell of congealed cheese and sweaty feet. My sentence has begun. But although I have to ask a couple of the dads to hold me back from the kid who hovers over my son while he plays air hockey, a little too eager for his turn, or the toddler that seems to have no concept of personal space, finally an hour and a half has passed. I have done my duty as a parent and tell my children it is time to leave. Amazingly they agree and before I know it, I am on my way to the ticket muncher (ha,ha, she said muncher) and we are soon to be on our way.
But wait, WAIT!! An announcement comes over the loud speaker. Chuckie will be out soon to do a stupid dance and throw out some tickets in 3 minutes. “Can we stay?” my children ask. And of course I relent.
3 minutes turn into hours as I wait for the rodent to appear. Finally he emerges in all his glory. The floor is crowded with children of all ages doing the hokey pokey as they shuffle without sense or direction to the right and left, hurling into each other. A child clings to Chuckie’s legs for dear life, certain that this will secure him all the tickets he has ever dreamed of. The dance finally comes to a spectacular finale as a 16 year old boy comes out to release the tickets, sure to die of embarrassment if his homies should be passing by. He goes to throw the tickets out once, then twice, then three times, psyching the kids out with every motion. “For the love of God man” think I, “throw the tickets out and release me from this torture!”
Finally the tickets are thrown as a swarm of bodies hit the floor. It is a massacre that I can only look at through the spaces between my fingers that are now covering my eyes as, not only children, but mothers, fathers and even grandparents prepare to fight to the death for precious tickets sure to secure half a Tootsie Roll for their snot nosed offspring.
Satisfied with their winnings, my children are now ready to exit this arena of death and I breath a sigh of relief…until the next time I prepare to do battle in the Lair of The Rat. There is no doubt about it…Chuck E. Cheese must die.