Chuck E. Cheese scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. His partner in crime -- Showbiz Pizza's redneck bear, Billy Bob -- didn't really phase me. Same went for birthday party clowns. Sure, those cats were sad and depressing, but I think they made me feel better about myself. Not Chuck E. Cheese. He was a rodent, and rodents make my skin crawl. The affiliation of a rat with food and children just never registered as cute and fun to me.
Today I still think little of Chuck E. Cheese, but that probably has more to do with me being a cynic and a germ freak. (That reminds me -- where's my Purell?) I mean, how infested must that place be, especially during cold and flu season? Just seeing footage on PBS commercials of kids writhing in those ball pits or freaking out over a round of Whack-a-mole makes me want to take a shower.
Well, I'm afraid that rat has returned to my life. This morning as I pulled my various props together for work, the Jackal approached. He was so visibly charged up that I thought he might jump out of his skin.
What's up, man?
I'm going to Chuck E. Cheese today!
Okay, I can't deny that seeing the Jackal so excited completely thrilled me, even if the source of that gives me a shiver. So what did I do? I handed him a twenty and kissed his cheeks.
On the way to work, it occurred to me that times have certainly changed when you are giving your two year old twenty bones for an outing. Remember when we were kids and a dollar did the trick?