Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Creep can be a Creep

February 18, 2013 — So the culmination of a more than five-year plan happened the other day. I was able to use my kid to get into Chuck E. Cheese’s.

I haven’t been in decades, since I was a kid, obviously, but in my neverending quest to relive my life before I’ve even finished living it, I’ve always wanted to check it out again. What’s always prevented me is that, without a kid, I would be the creepy guy hanging out at a Chuck E. Cheese's just because he wanted to be there. So I got married, had a kid, waited for the latter to get old enough to go, and went.

Honestly? I remember the place being seedier. And darker. Possibly more orange.

Of course, last year Chuck E. got himself a makeover that updated the yellow, green, and red sweater and cap that placed his fashion palette firmly in the Bad News Bears era to something more, I don’t know, 1994-ish. So “update” is a stretch of a term. They kept the annoying “apostrophe-s” in the name, though. Certainly, he’ll always have the original bowler hat, bow tie, and vest to me. I always thought of him as a bartender for kids. It’s my favorite concept in the whole world.

Still, I was disappointed at how clean and comfortable it was. Was this really the chain that introduced me to Q*bert? I mean, it was no Funspot, but I’ve found few things in life that are. One thing, actually.

And what about all the news stories about drunken brawls and violent attacks at Chuck E. Cheese’s that I’ve been reading for years with intense amusement bordering on religious experience and which convinced me of the usefulness of Google alerts? I mean, a kid’s entertainment venue where your life is in danger? It’s my second favorite concept in the whole world.

Then again, the Chuck E. Cheese’s we visited in Manchester, New Hampshire, might not have been representative of the species. In fact, I’m pretty confident about that. The biggest proof was that it had only a tiny stage with a single animatronic character, Mr. Cheese himself. Others, I’ve heard, have the entire bands of giant furry robots that I remember. I know, I know. We’ve all seen this documentary.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures on this jaunt because, well, even with a wife and kid, I didn’t want to be the creepy guy taking pictures of kids playing. Also, it wasn’t exactly a picturesque place (again, lacked seediness). More so, I didn’t realize this was going to be an entire blog post. I was only going to throw down a single pic with the caption:

This is where you end up when you don’t realize that you have a three-day weekend coming up and can’t find affordable flight tickets at the last minute or go on road trips thanks to looming snowstorms.

But somehow, I found the anthropomorphic rat inspiring, I guess. Maybe it was the fact that for ten bucks, we shot at dinosaurs, threw coins in gorilla mouths, rode simulated roller coasters, hit sharks with padded mallets, hugged a guy in a mascot outfit, and walked out of there with a plastic snake. They really need to hire me to write their ad campaigns.

More probably, though, it’s because I wrote this in the morning as just a way to procrastinate putting pants on for the day.

Anyway, the worst part of this whole plan of infiltrating Chuck E. Cheese’s is that, now that my wife and kid have served their purpose, I don’t know what to do with them. Didn’t plan that far ahead.

I’m thinking a trip to Sesame Place might be in my future. Got to wring as much as I can from this investment.