What the Chuck

Chuckie’s is a not place this man will enter again.

chuck-e-cheese-logoDid this ever happen to you? You experience something, you suffer through it. But then another person crystallizes your feelings about it.

This took place recently. A friend of mine, who I’ll call Rachel, I first met 20 years ago. She wrote on Facebook recently about a dialogue between her husband (“Thor”) and her daughter (“Anna”).

Anna: Daddy, my birthday party is at Chuck E. Cheese this year!
Thor: Good luck with that. I don’t go to parties at Chuck E. Cheese.
Anna: But there will be pizza and games!
Thor: Anna, I wouldn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese if you were getting married there.

I practically applauded, as I responded: “I’ve been to no fewer than a half dozen CEC bday parties, none for MY daughter. BRUTAL. You should hire a nanny for the afternoon.” As Rachel had previously indicated the importance of quality time with her children, I was trying to suggest that Thor’s (totally justifiable) intransigence should not mean that Rachel should be on the hook for going into the rat’s lair and that she find a third party to suffer.

A relative of Rachel interjected: “What’s wrong with Chuck E. Cheese’s? They have all kinds of games and stuff is supposed to have things for adults to do now.”

I didn’t realize what passion I had for the topic: “It’s loud and mind-numbing, and makes children crazy and greedy for the crap they don’t need. And their pizza is mediocre at best.”

One of Thor’s relatives complained, “It’s her birthday…” but he was unapologetic: “I stand by my comment. Chuckie’s is a not place this man will enter again. Life is too short to spend 1 minute in that insane asylum.” At that moment 1) I so regretted the 700 or more minutes that have been sucked out of MY life at that place and 2) I wondered if the misspelling of the store was a deliberate attempt to evoke that sadistic doll Chucky.

Thor’s stand won him several other admirers. One response encapsulated it: “Thor is a principled man. My hero.”

And people started piling on CEC: “It is a madhouse of undisciplined children and an incubator for who knows how many nasty germs.” And “My niece used to manage a CEC… A couple of my favorite status updates of hers were, ‘Someone s@#$ in the sky tube,’ and ‘A parent just handed me a paper cup full of vomit.’ I’m sharing this just so you know it’s tons of fun for everyone involved.”

Fortunately, I’m at the point where I won’t be asked to go to any more birthday parties at Charles’ place. But, just in case, I’m practicing my Nancy Reagan routine of just saying no.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “What the Chuck”

  1. When I was a young teen, Chuck E. Cheese was first becoming popular. There weren’t many around. My younger brother longed to go to one. Finally, my parents relented, figured out where the nearest one was, and took us.

    I wasn’t that excited by the idea, I will admit. But I will say it was an early lesson in expectations and disappointment: I remember the pizza as being terrible, and I remember it as being incredibly loud and chaotic. (Even as a kid I didn’t like noise and chaos). I don’t even remember any of the games. And any of the “prizes” required winning a not-in-this-lifetime number of tickets.

    My brother never begged to go to one again, so I think his experience was similar.

    Years later, when one opened up ~30 miles from us, and I was leading a youth group at church, several of the younger kids wanted to go for an outing. My co-leader and I gently steered them away from that idea. (Partly because of the expense, partly because we also had 14 and 15 year olds who probably wouldn’t enjoy it….) We did wind up going to one of those “Laser” mini golf places, which was surprisingly enjoyable, but we were able to rent the whole place for the evening, so we were the only ones there….

  2. Chuck E Cheese (sorry for the swearing you may or may not hear in the background) opened in Bingo just in time for Laura to be the right/wrong age. Every party was there… except hers. We had a habit back then, in my single mom days, of planning a theme for her parties, and she decided she didn’t want to break that tradition. So Katy, Chuck E. Cheese; Eli, Chuck E. Cheese; on and on… Then in September: Laura, ZOO, and all the kids got to handle a baby crocodile. Or bowling alley (all her friends signed an old bowling pin). Or my favorite, the year Austin Powers came out, Laura’s Psychedelic PussyCat Swingers’ Birthday Club, complete with her new lava lamp.

    Chuck E. Cheese can bite my butt. I hate, hate, hate the concept, especially the parents who get drunk in front of their kids to block out the noise. It’s just WRONG!! Thanks, Roger! Amy

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